Chelsea defeated Swansea City yesterday by a margin of 4-2 with the new hero of the Stamford Bridge Diego Costa banging in a hat-trick, and his wingman Fabregas owning up the assist table. However, when we look at Saturday’s game, the real game changer for the blues turned out to be Eden Hazard, who started making inroads in the Swansea City defence with his direct and dancing runs when our defence and midfield were in a total disarray.
It was a brilliant individual performance from the Belgian which lead to Costa’s first goal and consequently shifting the balance in our favor. More so when the whole team was in shambolic, he provided the necessary magic and changed the course of the game.
Chelsea hosting the Welsh club last evening was our 4th game in the Premier League. The place at the top of the table was at stake before the start and Swansea, who were enjoying good form this season, came into the match with the idea of upsetting the blues with an unlikely point.
And from the start it looked Swansea City meant business.They pressed us high up the pitch with great intensity and good physical play. Our midfield was unable to cope with the sustained pressure and made some forced errors through Matic and Terry, which got us trailing by the 11th minute. Our attacking midfielders were completely cut-off from the midfield that lead to Swansea dictating the course of the game for first 25 minutes.
Our chances looked bleak, and we could have been down to more than a goal but Mourinho and Hazard had some other plans. At the quarter of the game Mourinho called Hazard to the touchline to give him some instructions presumably to carry the ball from the deep and make more direct runs at Swans defence.
As it turns out a bit of a Hazard magic was what Chelsea needed to comeback in the game. As our Central midfield was in complete disarray, Hazard started to drop a bit deeper to collect the ball and make some direct runs in the Swans defence; something they were not ready for. His lightning fast pace and amazing dribbling ability meant the Swans had no chance to stop him in the run and they had to concede several fouls on him collecting couple of bookings in the process.
The momentum of the game had started to shift a bit in the Chelsea favor by the half hour mark. The resultant free kicks from the Swansea fouls taken by Schurrle and Fabregas respectively came to nothing, but the little Belgian was adamant on putting pressure at the Swans defence.
The next opportunity came through Oscar at the 36th minute. Hazard with a good dribbling run passed the ball to oscar in the opposition box, but Oscar’s shot lacked the power and was met comfortably by Fabianski. Couple of minutes later, Hazard again made a beautiful run in the Swans box with a fantastic cross for Costa on the other side but Costa was unable to reach the ball for an easy tap-in and yet another chance got wasted.
By the 40th-minute mark, Chelsea and Hazard had announced themselves in the game by creating a plethora of chances, and you could sense an equalizer was coming, and it came through none other than Diego Costa in the 44th minute. Chelsea forced a corner through some good work on the right flank, and the resulted Fabregas corner met Costa who converted it into a goal through his brute force and physicality something we have been missing in a striker for the past couple of seasons.
The equaliser just before the half-time was down to some brilliant build-up play by Eden Hazard, and while the second half was all about Costa and his hat-trick, its fair to say the necessary flair in the first half when we really needed it was provided by Eden Hazard. He might not have a goal or assist to show for his work but there’s no doubt he was the catalyst for the build up of that first goal and the subsequent chelsea turn around.