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Swansea City vs. Chelsea: Final score 0-1, early red hurts Swans

An early red card to Chico Flores gave Chelsea an avenue to a simple win, but they made it hard on themselves.

Michael Steele

It took 52 minutes of playing against 10 men for Chelsea to get on the board on Sunday, but all that matters for them going forward is that they took three points away from the fixture. They're still in the title race after a 1-0 win over Swansea City, despite their poor performance.

Chelsea didn't exactly start the match brightly. Mohamed Salah had a big miss six minutes in and Swansea nearly scored in the 13th minute when Petr Cech was forced to make a brilliant save on a header by Wilfried Bony. But the Blues were given a gift in the 16th minute when Chico Flores was sent off for picking up a second yellow card in two minutes. Phil Dowd appeared to hesitate to send off the Swansea man, but couldn't avoid booking him for a nasty challenge on Andre Schürrle.

Even though Swansea went down to 10 men early, Chelsea didn't look particularly threatening in the first half and struggled to test Michel Vorm. They finished the first half without any shots on target, leading Jose Mourinho to make big halftime changes. Samuel Eto'o replaced Schürrle, while Oscar came on for Ramires.

While Eto'o wasn't terribly threatening, his entrance seemed to spark Demba Ba to life. Ba missed by mere inches on a header in the 56th minute, then registered Chelsea's first effort on target in the 60th minute. All of this eventually led to his game-winning goal, scored in the 68th minute.

Swansea defended well all match up until the goal, but switched off for a split second on a pass by Nemanja Matic into the penalty area. Ba anticipated it perfectly and had no hesitation about placing a low finish past Vorm to give his team a lead that they would never relinquish.

This wasn't a terrific performance from Chelsea, who trail Liverpool in the league table, but they're still in solid position in the title race. Their deficit is only two points, and they still have to play the Reds at Anfield.

Swansea: Vorm, Davies, Chico (red 16'), Williams, Rangel, Britton (De Guzman 86'), Shelvey, Dyer (Ngog 73'), Pablo (Amat 19'), Routledge, Bony

Goals: None

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Ramires (Eto'o 46'), Salah, Willian, Schürrle (Oscar 46'), Ba (Mikel 79')

Goals: Ba (68')