Chelsea’s Premier League title defence got off to a bad start after a 2-2 at Stamford Bridge to Swansea, thanks in large part to the inept display (to put it kindly) of referee Michael Oliver.
Chelsea twice took the lead in the match but ultimately ended up having to settle for just a point after referee Michael Oliver sent off goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and awarded Swansea a penalty early in the second half for denying a “clear goal scoring opportunity” on the line of his penalty area.
Replays show that the foul happened on the very line and Bafétimbi Gomis was still half outside the area. Surely if all of the ball must cross the line for it to be a goal, all of the person must be inside the penalty area for it to be a penalty? On the line is not inside the penalty area, thus it should not be a penalty.
The red card itself was also harsh because there were players getting back making it questionable as to whether it was a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Gomis converted the penalty to make it 2-2 after Asmir Begovic was brought on to make his debut replacing Oscar.
Oscar had put Chelsea in front to begin with from a brilliant free-kick by Oscar with some help from Gary Cahill who made enough of a movement to put of Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Ayew then managed to equalised for Swansea, scoring the second rebound after Chelsea failed to clear their lines after Courtois made an outstanding save to keep out Gomis’ header.
Just 90 seconds later, Willian then forced Federico Fernandez to concede a freak goal, the ball deflecting off him, looping into air and into the Swansea net from Willian’s attempted low cross into the box.
Chelsea had been playing quite well in the first half. They were keeping hold of the ball well, were putting Swansea under a decent amount of pressure, and generally looked fit and sharp.
However they still failed to create any decent sort of chance and Swansea, mainly through Ayew and Jefferson Montero who looks like he will give defenders nightmares, created chances of their own.
The second half was a different story. It was all Swansea until about the 75th minute when Chelsea seemed to suddenly wake up and realise that this isn’t a pre-season game and that they actually needed to win it.
Jose Mourinho has a lot of work to do before Chelsea play Manchester City next Sunday.
At points today they didn’t play like a team, but just a bunch of individuals. Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill, and Cesc Fabregas had poor games. There was a worrying lack of chances being created, something that was common throughout their pre-season campaign. And there is a worrying lack of depth to the squad.
It’s hard to imagine Chelsea not now going out and signing a couple of players before the window closes. They need to make a marquee signing desperately.
There were a few positives for the Premier League champions however. Begovic did well under pressure. He look’s more than capable of filling in Courtois when needed and replacing the void left by Petr Cech.
Oscar did well until he was taken off for Begovic, even getting on the scoresheet which is one of the complaints against him. He was involved in some lovely bits of play, won the ball a few times, made a couple of good runs, and just looked lively all round.
Likewise there are plenty of positives for Swansea. Ayew and Montero both look like fantastic signings that will cause defenders a lot of problems and create a lot of chances for Swansea.
Chelsea didn’t deserve to win, Swansea deserve their point, it’s just a shame that it had to come from yet another referee fuck up.
The red card and penalty wasn’t the only decision Oliver got wrong. He was poor all game. Not giving fouls. Not booking players. Still it’s nice to know that the officials haven’t improved over the summer. Same old Premier League.