Chelsea 3-1 Swansea - Saturday 25th February 2017 15:00
Standard lineup for us - with the exception of Fabregas coming into the starting eleven for Matic . Appears to be no fall out morale...
Standard lineup for us - with the exception of Fabregas coming into the starting eleven for Matic. Appears to be no fall out morale wise after Costa spent most of Thursday at Cobham recruiting teammates to help him try and wedge Eden Hazard into a cardboard box. Surprised Daily Fail and red tops have not manufactured squad crisis more over the top than mansion shootout in Django Unchained (nominated, Best Picture, 2012) and speculated imminent Chinese departures in wake of box-gate. Anticipate these are being held back for a very slow news day.
Within four minutes we’d already carved Swansea open several times, and every time we broke they looked like they might fold. After 19 minutes Fabregas won the ball in midfield and carried on his run. A Pedro pass bobbled in front of him and he jumped on the opportunity to put us ahead. By the half hour mark it almost had a training game feel about it. Swansea didn’t exactly seem enthused about trying to get back into it and we appeared content to operate at about 80% knowing that any break and we'd have a go at another goal. We had a couple more half chances. On 43 minutes Pedro tried to take on Hazard for goal of the season by taking on half the Swansea side and it almost paid off. Apparently the away side mustered one shot off target, but if you have me a grand I couldn't tell you when that was. So you know what is coming, right? There had only been one team in it, so of course we conceded right on the stroke of half time. It was a stunning ball in from Sigurdsson, but we had declined to mark a monstrous forward, the only forward they had, and Llorente coasted onto the end of the free kick to head it in.
At half time we finally got to bid a proper farewell to Frank Lampard at the Bridge, and the stands were rightly packed. Mowgli reckons he was in and out of the bog in thirty seconds. My guess is he didn’t wash his hands. Verbatim, Frank said:
“All I want to say is, that I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye properly, for whatever reason, and I always regretted that, and I want to thank the club for giving me the chance to do that. Most importantly I want to thank all of you, everybody. Thank you, thank you. All my special memories of this place, and I feel them all right now, are our memories together and I couldn’t have done it without you, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you very much, thank you.”
The second half was initially frustrating. Just after the break Hazard muscled his way into the box and we rattled the crossbar a few minutes later, but these were isolated flashes. It was so complacent that we were almost Arsenal-like at times; all that naff flicking it about on the premise that without actually fighting we would prevail. Happily it didn’t last. Another great ball forward from Cesc, Pedro turns and hits it perfectly but shocking goalkeeping as Flappihandski fully justifies his nickname with a brainfart as inexplicable as three consecutive Kevin Costner films being nominated for Best Picture. (Name them without using the internet and might give you a Cadbury’s cream egg).
Swansea fans will swear that they should have had a penalty at 1-1 for a ball that struck Dave’s hand. I couldn’t see past the bloke standing up in front of me but they are blatantly wrong. Which brings me to Refwatch: We had Neil Swarbrick today and I had nothing bad to say about him in the first half. He just seemed to be in the way a lot. But by the 75th minute, in the words of Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, (nominated, Best Supporting Actor, 2009) he'd gone full retard. He spent twenty minutes randomly blowing his whistle and awarding free kicks in favour of whoever happened to be lying on the floor. The female lino was the only one who knew what was going on by that point, which shouldn't surprise anyone as we are always right. Oh, and apparently her opposite number was from Swansea. I'd mock PGMOL for this decision, but I heard that after Twattenburg said he was leaving because he doesn't get enough high profile games they sent him to Pulis at West Brom this weekend. Well played sirs, well played.
Having taken the lead, bringing on Matic was a complete no brainer. My only criticism of Pedro all afternoon is that he could have walked off a lot slower. Swansea made some substitutions but I was too busy monitoring a cash out on Bet365 to notice who went off or came on. It did not turn the tide. Five minutes from time Hazard made the run on the left and crossed it into Diego, thus completely scuppering the feud-on-account-of-box-gate headlines planned for next week. Five Swansea defenders decided they had better things to do than mark Costa and he struck a difficult ball with style to send us eleven points clear at the top of the league and end his miniature drought. Much to the dismay of Scouse Sports News who have been counting the minutes since his last goal as gleefully as Francis Ford Coppola when The Godfather Part III somehow got nominated for an Oscar.
So: I feel like had we kept at them like we started the game, we could have smashed them in the first half. But we didn’t, and we could have ended up paying for it. Swansea were by no means awful. I actually have respect for them coming down and not doing a Pulis, I haven't seen their fixture list but they should be OK I think. It’s another game down and another three points. Over to everyone else now, but things are looking good for us to pick up a much shinier trophy than a naked little gold man.
Make sure you check out the full match report AND MORE on Alex's fantastic Blog - A Girl Who likes Balls by clicking HERE!