It was bound to be a tough away visit for Chelsea at Swansea; a week of thinking about referees and racism wasn’t helpful preparation. Not being an aggressive, physical side, like the ones that make the Welsh team shake in its boots, was going to be another problem. Having Fernando Torres reverting back to last season’s form and confidence levels is more of the same.
There wasn’t much to praise about Chelsea’s performance after a rough week, physically and emotionally. Maybe that they defended well for most of the match, as John Obi Mikel and Branislav Ivanovic made some crucial stops in the box that could have made things much worse than 1-1.
Worst for Chelsea? They never came in looking confident they could win this match. While Swansea were buoyed by their League cup win over Anfield, Roberto Di Matteo and his men looked like they just want to go home, knowing that an even tougher match, a Champions League encounter vs Shakhtar Donetsk, is awaiting in midweek. Victor Moses and Eden Hazard were the only players with a certain kind of spark at the Liberty Stadium.
Victor Moses, who has scarcely been used at Chelsea and could have been of much bigger use at Wigan or for most clubs in England, actually brought his A game and best performance of his Chelsea career. Not just the goal, but also his movement and involvement, almost making up for the shade masquerading as a striker upfront. Oscar was another player who looked a bit flat due to the physical demand of the previous week, while Di Matteo made the mistake of breaking up the pairing of Mikel and Ramires, which is the only one that seems to work for Chelsea. Oriol Romeu doesn’t seem like the kind of player Barcelona will be regretting they let slip out of their fingers.
Hazard, playing without Juan Mata at his side, made things move and happen. The man never rests or stops for a second, although his accuracy and tendency to complicate matters by not really looking and reading the situation correctly can be frustrating. Chelsea’s defense was much more careful this time, with Ivanovic and Cahill feeling less than tempted against the 4-3-3 that made it troublesome for Chelsea to develop an organized passing game.
But above all, the weakness of Fernando Torres is glaring and obvious for everyone to see. There has been some talk of resurgence and a return to the good ol’ days of 2008 and 2009, but Torres was wearing a red jersey then, before a couple of long injuries and before he lost all confidence in himself. He does have his moments, but in between there’s a big pit of disappointment. Not just his inaccuracy in front of goal, but it’s his softness when he’s with the ball; his slowness when prepping for a shot, which makes him so predictable and easy to dispossess of the ball.
Chelsea lost the top spot, deservedly so. They haven’t been playing well for quite some time, only now the results are starting to catch up with them. Di Matteo has his magic threesome behind striker, but even they need some rest from time to time, and without Mata, while Oscar was having an off day on the pitch, there was no one to link up with Eden Hazard and get a win out of match Chelsea never deserve to come out with 3 points from.