Chelsea looked set to become the latest Liberty Stadium victims until Jose Bosingwa got their 10 men out of jail with a last-gasp effort deflected in off Neil Taylor which earned them a point they barely deserved. Andre Villas-Boas’ side looked to be on the way to their sixth defeat of the season until Bosingwa’s shot from just inside the area three minutes into injury time took a diverson off Taylor and flew into the far corner. And Villas-Boas admits the loss is a big blow to the Blues, who were without John Terry due to a knee injury, with the England captain’s court case into his alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand – which he strenuously denies – set to begin tomorrow.
Chelsea, who ended the game with 10 men following Ashley Cole‘s late sending off, dominated the second half, but looked set to leave south Wales empty handed thanks to Scott Sinclair‘s superb first-half volley against his former club. And Villas-Boas said “I think it was a very different first half to the second, completely different. “In the second half we were more confident and caused Swansea a lot of problems by pressing high. “The first half was the opposite, we conceded territory and they found spaces and caused problems. Their goal came during the period when we were starting to do things right, we had plenty of the ball but didn’t take our chances. “The second half was very good, a big effort to improve things, if the goal had come earlier we could have got the second due to the motivation and momentum, but they defended very well.
Swansea’s exceptional pressing, however, left Chelsea struggling to establish any rhythm and they took a deserved lead in the 39th minute. Juan Mata had needlessly conceded a foul deep inside his own half and, from another set-piece, Chelsea’s obvious defensive weaknesses were exposed. Sigurdsson’s free-kick landed on the edge of the six-yard box, with Bosingwa unable to clear even the penalty area with his defensive header. Sinclair had drifted into space and brilliantly punished the mistake, hooking his finish over Petr Cech and into the corner of the goal.
His previous association with Chelsea meant that the celebration was muted. Even without Terry, Deogba and Lampard Chelsea emerged for the second half with more purpose. Yet while Mata, Bosingwa, Sturridge and Essien all provided moments of quality, there was often a gaping hole in the centre of Chelsea’s attack. It appeared that Chelsea misery had been compounded in the 85th minute when Ashley Cole was dismissed for a second bookable offence. With a man advantage, it appeared that Swansea had seen off Chelsea’s threat, and would have wrapped up the contest had they just hung on to the football. However, as luck would have it, Bosingwa got an opportunity to atone for his earlier error. The roving Portuguese right back, who always looks a lot better in the opposing third of the pitch whipped in a routine cross into a packed Swansea box, and with Vorm committed to go and collect it, a massive deflection off Taylor saw it head into the back of the net at the near post.
Torres now has just two games before Didier Drogba returns from the African Nations Cup. Villas-Boas issued a stark warning about what will happen then, saying: “When Didier Drogba returns he will be competition. We all know his significance to this team and his record.” The Blues may in the end see this as a point gained rather than two dropped with Manchester City failing to pull away at the top of the table thanks to their defeat at the hands of Everton. However, the Blues will be bitterly disappointed with their lack of cutting edge, especially with the impending visit of Manchester United at the weekend.
Booked : Cole(45′), Malouda(46′), Cole(86′-Red Card), Meireles(87′)
Man of the match: Juan Mata
Match rating: 7.0/10.
Possession: Swansea 46% Chelsea 54%
Attempts (on target): Swansea 8 (5) Chelsea 19 (4)
Referee: Andre Marriner