Swansea City 0-1 Chelsea: 3 things Chelsea did right
Chelsea boosted their hopes of a top-four finish as Cesc Fabregas’ early strike earned them victory against relegation-threatened Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Hazard made a surging approach towards the hosts’ penalty box in the 4th minute before teeing up his team-mate, who made no mistake in wrapping his weaker left foot around the ball to beat the diving Lukasz Fabianski.
Swansea – starting without a recognised senior striker owing to Wilfried Bony’s injury and Tammy Abraham being ineligible to play against his parent club – were toothless in attack and have a nervy few weeks ahead of them as they seek the points required to maintain their Premier League status for the eighth season.
We analyse what Chelsea got right in a narrow but comfortable victory:
#1 Playing Hazard in a central role
In last week’s FA Cup semi-final, Eden Hazard started on the left side of a 3-4-3 setup and found his contribution comparatively subdued than what manager Antonio Conte and the Chelsea fans would have wished. Conte changed his formation at the hour mark, taking off Willian and allowing Hazard to operate in a more central position behind striker Olivier Giroud.
The switch to a 3-5-2, where Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko occupied the midfield spots on either side of N’Golo Kante, worked almost immediately as Hazard began to have a more direct impact, taking on defenders one by one and creating space in the box to get a pass through.
Come Swansea and Conte had no hesitation in sticking to the formation that helped his side muster control of the semi-final in the latter stages. The fleet-footed Belgian was the cynosure of Chelsea’s attack yet again, receiving the ball in midfield and making dangerous approaches at the three-man Swansea defence, who were only too well aware of his ability to waltz past them in the blink of an eye and open up a chance to test their goalkeeper.
His fourth-minute assist for Cesc Fabregas was just an illustration of his influence on the game if given the license to express himself as a second striker.