SWINDON TOWN 0-2 CHELSEA (CAPITAL ONE CUP)
Goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires gave Chelsea the win against a very game Swindon Town side at the County Ground and saw them progress to the next round of the Capital One Cup.
Swindon boss Mark Cooper made just one change to the team that beat Bristol City 3-2 on Saturday with loanee Alex Pritchard returning to the starting eleven with Louis Thompson dropping to the bench. Jose Mourinho made ten changes to the team that won 2-0 against Fulham with only Gary Cahill keeping his place in the starting line-up.
With the County Ground packed, both teams began by showing off their passing abilities with Swindon in particular impressing in that regard. However, the only real action of the early minutes was not the type you want to see. Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel went down with replays showing that the Chelsea midfielder’s knee had buckled under him. It was a nasty looking injury that forced him off but fortunately he was able to leave the pitch by himself.
The first real shot on goal took ten minutes to arrive but it was an excellent one. Fernando Torres was fouled in the air by Grant Hall around 35 yards from the Swindon goal. David Luiz stepped up and hit a dipping, swerving effort right at Swindon goalkeeper Wes Foderingham who could only parry it clear.
That was the initial warning from Chelsea but Swindon kept on playing their style of neat, passing football albeit without troubling Mark Schwarzer in the Chelsea goal. Foderingham at the other end was soon about to have to deal with more action. After Ramires (on for the injured van Ginkel) had fired high and wide from the edge of the area, Juan Mata slipped in Fernando Torres. The Spanish striker was one on one with Foderingham but the keeper kept his shot out. He wouldn’t be able to stop him next time though.
Ramires got fortunate as the ball ricocheted off him and into space behind the two Swindon players tackling him. The Brazilian released Mata on the right of the box but his shot across goal was saved well by Foderingham. However, while most were expecting the ball to go out for a corner, Torres slid in and put in the ball in at the far post. It was a real sucker punch for Swindon as they had played well to that point. Chelsea nerves were now gone and they doubled their lead just six minutes later.
Torres was surrounded by two Swindon players but the Spaniard incredibly managed to wriggle free of them with great footwork. He then released Ramires who managed to dink the ball over Foderigham and in at the near post with some assistance from the post. It was a wonderfully worked goal made by the magical feet of Torres while Ramires’ finish was different class.
Swindon responded well to the goals as Yaser Kasim was allowed too much space by Mata 25 yards from goal and forced a good save low down from Schwarzer. Then Prtichard picked up the ball on the halfway line and was allowed to run forward unchallenged before hitting his left foot shot at Schwarzer. These would prove to be the last chances of an OK first half.
The second half began with enforced changes for both sides with Louis Thompson coming for Swindon for Nile Ranger and John Terry coming on for Ramires. It was Swindon who started the brightest though. Jay McEveley whipped in an inswinging free kick which Danny N’Guessan headed in to an open net with Schawarzer diving and anticipating the ball. But before the big Frenchman could celebrate, he was flagged offside. Replays showed that it was the right call but it was very tight.
Swindon continued to push for a goal with Pritchard curling a free kick at goal that was dealt with comfortably by Schwarzer before N’Guessan was denied again by Schwarzer and the offside flag. Yet, Chelsea seemed to be just stepping their game up as well and they almost got a third. A Mata free kick on the right was only cleared to the edge of the box where Kevin De Bruyne blasted one at Foderingham. The keeper could only parry it to Cahill but the defender couldn’t turn it in.
Chelsea were beginning to catch out Swindon on the break and they almost added a third with twenty minutes to go. De Bruyne released Torres to his right but the Spaniard was once again denied by Foderingham. The rebound fell to Willian but the Brazilian’s touch was poor and he could only fire way over.
The last ten minutes of the match belonged to Chelsea as Swindon began to run out of steam. First, Willian was sent through by Luiz but could only curl wide of the far post. Then substitute Demba Ba got the ball on the left, cut in and fired a fierce shot not far wide of the far post. Yet, it was the impressive Torres who almost stole the show again. He breezed past Darren Ward before beating Hall in the box. It was a great run that was only stopped by the foot of Foderingham. It ended up with Willian but his shot was blocked by the group of Swindon defenders that had got back.
The full time whistle blew and Chelsea were through to the fourth round comfortably. There could be no real complaints from Swindon but they performed very well and will have impressed a great number of people around the country. Chelsea will be happy that they got through and got through with a clean sheet. This game was a potential embarrassment waiting to happen but they navigated it well.
Swindon Town: Foderingham, N. Thompson, Hall, Ward (c), McEveley, Kasim, Luongo, N’Guessan, Pritchard, Ajose (El Gabbas 73), Ranger (L. Thompson 46)
Subs: Belford, Barthram, Branco, Wood, Storey
Yellow: N. Thompson
Chelsea: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Essien (c), van Ginkel (Ramires 10 (Terry 46)), De Bruyne (Ba 78), Mata, Willian, Torres
Subs: Blackman, Baker, Schürrle, Eto’o
Goal: Torres, Ramires
Yellow: Azpilicueta, Essien
MAN OF THE MATCH: FERNANDO TORRES (CHELSEA)