Swansea vs. Chelsea: Blues' Player Ratings from Last-Gasp Draw
In near identical circumstances to last season’s meeting, Chelsea were once again repelled from the Liberty Stadium with just a point to their name.
The result means that Roberto Di Matteo’s men are knocked from the top of their Premier League perch, only to be replaced by Manchester United, who saw off an Arsenal assault in Saturday’s early kickoff.
Chelsea were dominant for periods of the match but failed to be clinical in front of the hosts’ goal and ultimately paid the price of two much-needed points.
As is ever the case in matches of this sort, there were those who did and those who didn’t stand out for the European champions in what turned out to be quite a fair result.
Each of Chelsea’s players have been given a mark out of 10, pertaining to just how they performed during the draw in Wales.
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Tested in very small quantities for the majority of the game, Cech had a relatively easy day at the office, despite not keeping a clean sheet.
In the first period, Swansea created a lot in Chelsea’s thirds but weren’t forming their chances into shots, preferring to overpass themselves at times.
The second half saw Michael Laudrup’s side develop a slightly meaner streak, but the Blues’ No. 1 did well to keep the likes of Michu, Nathan Dyer and Danny Graham at bay, despite their best attempts.
In the end, Cech was forced into allowing Pablo Hernandez to curl home a polished effort from the edge of the area, but there is very little even the most accomplished stoppers would have been able to do about an equaliser of that quality.
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In his first Premier League start for Chelsea, Cesar Azpilicueta showed evidence that he may still require some time in adapting to the standard demanded in the English top-flight.
With John Terry and David Luiz both unavailable, Roberto Di Matteo was forced to shift usual full-back Ivanovic to a more central position so that the Spaniard could come in.
The likes of Michu, Wayne Routledge and even left-back Ben Davies found it far too easy to get in behind Azpilicueta at times, providing the foundation for many a Swansea attack.
Despite the fact that he came into his own slightly more in the second half, Azpilicueta was panicky and wasted his fair share of possession, and he showed his frustration when putting a high challenge in on Swans full-back Davies.
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Probably the most reliable player in the Chelsea back four on the day, Ivanovic’s rare display at centre-back showed an air of rustiness on more than one occasion.
With Michu playing in a more advanced role than usual, the Blues defence had only one target man to concentrate on, but were left stranded at times, seemingly confused by the Swansea midfield’s movement.
That being said, the Serbian did well to clear up several mistakes caused by teammates such as Gary Cahill and the aforementioned Azpilicueta.
In the build-up to the Swansea goal, it was Ivanovic that got turned by Itay Shecter simply too easily before Pablo Hernandez finished off the acute build-up play with his curled finish.
Filling in for John Terry and David Luiz, suspended and injured, respectively, Gary Cahill showed just why he’s slipped down the Chelsea ranks in the last year and was a liability to the visitors for periods.
In Cahill’s defence, the ex-Bolton talisman contributed the assist for Victor Moses’ goal, heading the ball right into his teammate’s path, but such a contribution may not be enough to absolve him.
Cahill was cumbersome at times, struggling to cope with the speed of players such as Routledge and Hernandez and failing to meet the physical challenge put forth by Michu.
More use in attack than defence, Cahill may want to consider a career as a midfielder rather than as a central defender, as priorities are still priorities for any defender.
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After missing the midweek League Cup win over Manchester United, one would have thought an extra few days of rest would have done Ashley Cole well, but the England international just wasn’t at the races against Swansea City.
Usually a massive contributor in attack, Cole failed to get forward as often as he usually does, perhaps due to the awareness of the counter strength the Swans possess down their wings.
Regardless, Cole wasn’t a massive asset in defence either and was frequently caught out of position.
The 31-year-old had a task in keeping up with the pace of Pablo Hernandez and failed to complete such a challenge for stretches of the encounter.
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Taking up a position in front of the Chelsea back four alongside John Obi Mikel, Oriol Romeu was granted more of the creative freedom between the two.
However, the Spaniard was largely ineffective and struggled to make a telling impact in either preventing the Swansea midfield from creating chances or making some himself.
Substituted for Ramires at halftime, Romeu’s 45-minute cameo at the Liberty Stadium wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t particularly strong, either.
John Obi Mikel
With Mikel having made his way back into Chelsea’s plans under Roberto Di Matteo, the game in South Wales was one of the least effective the Nigerian international has featured in this season.
Positioned with Oriol Romeu to play in the role of anchor for the Blues, Mikel was often inundated under the pressure of the Swans' midfield five and struggled to move forward with any sense of urgency.
Instead, the 25-year-old was forced into passing laterally and backwards for a great deal of the match, failing to penetrate almost at all.
However, Mikel did finish with a pass-completion rate of 96 percent (via WhoScored.com), so while he didn’t show the flair of a master playmaker, at least he didn’t gift away the ball too much.
The man whose second-half effort put the visitors in front, Victor Moses did well to divert Gary Cahill’s flicked effort past the onrushing defenders regardless of his short frame.
The 1-1 draw signalled the first goal of Moses’ Chelsea career and was a positive performance for the most part, displaying a lot of the talent Moses showed during his Wigan days.
In the first half, it was Moses through whom a lot of Chelsea’s creation was being pushed, with Moses shifting fluidly from flank to flank on several occasions.
The Nigerian international was a tricky customer for the Swansea full-backs and proved his worth with a calmly finished goal, despite simmering away slightly in the second period.
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One of the players to have a hand in the midweek turnaround against Manchester United, Oscar did well to maintain a similar standard in South Wales and not show too much of a hangover from the demanding week.
Although the Brazilian wasn’t as suave as he’s shown to be so far in his Chelsea career, Oscar was a helping hand in attack on more than one occasion, linking up well with his midfield partners.
One major weakness the 21-year-old needs to work on if he is to succeed in English football is the physical side, an area in which he was shifted too easily off the ball against Swansea.
With that in mind, Oscar still has a long time to get to grips with that aspect of his game, but he suffered against the likes of Michu, who pounced on the youngster’s meagre frame.
In what has become a familiar story for the West London club, Chelsea were again relying on Eden Hazard to play the role of instigator on more than one occasion against Michael Laudrup’s men.
The Belgian starlet was a constantly active component of Di Matteo’s outfit, offering Angel Rangel a whole raft of problems on the defensive side of things.
Hazard showed his supreme ambidexterity against the Swans, either crossing in from the wing or cutting in to craft a shooting opportunity of his own.
However, for all the space that Hazard opened up, the home defence were frequently equal to the 21-year-old’s assaults and goalkeeper Tremmel managed to keep a 30-yard free kick and several shots out of his net.
As Hazard is one of the brighter lights in Chelsea’s star-studded squad, this was undoubtedly one of his quieter Premier League performances.
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Operating in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Chelsea left Fernando Torres up front on his own once more to do battle with the Swansea City back four.
The Spaniard has become used to shouldering the striking duties under Roberto Di Matteo’s regime, but he struggled to thrive in the harsh environment that South Wales produced.
Going toe-to-toe with Ashley Williams and Garry Monk, Torres was kept at bay for massive portions of the match and was forced into playing as more of a provider than as a finisher of chances.
Linking up well with the likes of Hazard, Moses and Oscar, Torres did well to provide a good platform for the Blues to aim at, regardless of how little the former Liverpool star actually attacked the Swansea goal himself.
Though he completed 80 percent of his passes and won 60 percent of his aerial duels, the Swansea fixture was a dogged one for Chelsea’s sole man going forward, and Torres looked to be lacking an attacking partner up top.
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Ramires: Coming on for Oriol Romeu at halftime, Ramires immediately injected a more experienced steel into the Chelsea midfield and provided a more rounded asset in attack and defence.
Sturridge: Goalscorer Moses made way in the 72nd so that Daniel Sturridge could lend Fernando Torres a helping hand up top.
The Englishman, however, failed to reach the tempo of the game and looked turgid whenever faced with the task of taking on the feral Swans' back four.
Bertrand: Coming on for Oscar with but 10 minutes left in the game, Ryan Bertrand took up a spot on the left side of midfield and was a reliable member of the Chelsea lineup, completing all of the passes in an efficient cameo.