Chelsea 2 – 0 Swansea





Chelsea kept up the hunt for Champions League qualification with victory over Swansea City on Sunday.

Oscar opened the scoring with a low cross-shot after being picked out by substitute Frank Lampard.

Lampard then struck his 201st Chelsea goal, one off the club record, from the penalty spot after Juan Mata was sent tumbling by Leon Britton.

Swansea had little to show for their afternoon, although Angel Rangel’s shot did need a smart save from Petr Cech.

Much of the pre-match talk had surrounded referee Mark Clattenburg, making his first return to Stamford Bridge since being embroiled in a racism row involving Chelsea players John Mikel Obi and Ramires last October.

The official was subsequently cleared by the Football Association of using “inappropriate language” to Nigeria midfielder Mikel during the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United.

Chelsea had promised that Clattenburg was welcome back in west London and pre-match niceties were impeccably observed.

Of more pressing concern to Blues manager Rafael Benitez was securing a Champions League place for next season.

Chelsea are in a neck-and-neck battle with Arsenal and Tottenham for two qualification places, while Everton are snapping at the heels of the London trio.

There is the possibility that Chelsea can qualify for the Champions League if they win the Europa League – and they have one foot in the final after their 2-1 semi-final first leg win in Basel – but the push in the league must continue, especially with Manchester United and Spurs their next opponents.

Also on the line was gaining a measure of revenge on Swansea who Chelsea had not beaten in three previous meetings this season, including the two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final.

The first effort on goal came from Eden Hazard as he stung the hands of Swans goalkeeper Michel Vorm with a speculative long-range shot.

Alongside Hazard in midfield were Juan Mata and Oscar, restored to the starting line-up in place of Lampard and Victor Moses, while Gary Cahill returned in defence after a six-week injury lay-off.

Swansea had also juggled their midfield options as boss Michael Laudrup looked to end their run of five matches without a win, with Ki Sung-Yeung and Wayne Routledge starting in place of Luke Moore and Nathan Dyer.

But it was the Chelsea midfield that bossed the early proceedings, with Mata pulling the strings impressively.

Vorm was again called into action when Demba Ba, cup-tied in Europe but back in attack in place of Fernando Torres, picked up a loose ball before his left-foot drive was pushed away.

But Swansea responded well and it needed an acrobatic intervention from Ashley Cole to prevent Michu nodding Routledge’s cross into the net.

Chelsea lost Ramires to injury after 24 minutes but Lampard arrived onto the pitch and he soon brought another diving save from Vorm after robbing Jonathan de Guzman.

Hazard should have opened the scoring from the resulting corner as the Belgian flicked a close-range header over the bar, but Chelsea made the pressure count with two goals in quick succession just before half-time.

First Oscar controlled Lampard’s toe-poked pass on the right, before sending the ball fizzing low across Vorm into the far corner.

Then Leon Britton clumsily clipped Mata from behind to concede a penalty and Lampard stepped up to score his 201st Chelsea goal.

That took the 34-year-old to one goal shy of Bobby Tambling’s club record and equalled Andy Cole’s record of scoring against 38 different teams in the Premier League.

Tambling, who played for Chelsea between 1958-70, was present to witness the moment and the three-times capped England forward – currently wheelchair-bound as he battles Martorelli’s ulcer, a painful leg condition – was welcomed onto the pitch at half-time to a standing ovation.

Cech had largely been a spectator in the Chelsea goal but was down smartly to push the ball round the post as full-back Rangel shot from an acute angle.

Swansea were at least heartened by the sight of Neil Taylor coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes, returning for his first taste of action since the Wales left-back broke his ankle against Sunderland last September.

Vorm remained the busier goalkeeper and did well to keep out Ba, while Mata sent the ball just wide of the far post on two occasions.

Another goal for Lampard to equal the record would have capped the afternoon for Chelsea, but they will settle for three points well won and refocus on what are likely to be sterner tests in coming weeks.


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