Two-goal Diego Costa was the centre of attention once again as Chelsea came from behind to draw 2-2 against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
The Spain striker gave the Blues the lead in the first half with a cool, side-footed shot and his second goal was a spectacular overhead kick.
Swansea had turned the game on its head inside three second-half minutes when Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois brought Gylfi Sigurdsson down inside the penalty area and the Iceland midfielder converted the spot-kick himself, before Leroy Fer robbed Gary Cahill of possession and put Francesco Guidolin’s side into the lead.
But Costa, whose afternoon was characterised by his trademark theatrics, heavy challenges and disputes with opponents, made sure the Londoners claimed a point. Whether he should have been on the pitch is another matter after a lame dive when challenged by Lukasz Fabianski having already been cautioned.
The result ended Chelsea’s 100 per cent start to the season and denied them the opportunity to join Manchester City at the top of the table, while Swansea ended a run of two consecutive league defeats.
Antonio Conte opted not to start new signing David Luiz in his back four as Chelsea named an unchanged line-up for the first time since February, while Guidolin lined up with a three-man defence and Fernando Llorente as a lone striker.
Five minutes into the game, Willian rattled a shot at goal after being teed up neatly by N’Golo Kante and Fabianski was rocked by the power of the shot as he saved it with his fists.
Fabianski preserved parity for Swansea again after 10 minutes, stretching to prevent Willian’s dangerous whipped cross from the right from reaching the onrushing Costa.
Swansea were enjoying the majority of the early possession but their gameplan was disrupted when Federico Fernandez’s header dropped at the feet of Oscar and he squared the ball to Costa who side-footed it into the bottom corner.
Chelsea surged forward again and the in-form Eden Hazard split the Swansea defence with a run that put him clean through on goal, but Fabianski did well to save his low drive.
The home side’s best chance came when Llorente laid the ball off for Sigurdsson, who bent a shot narrowly wide of Thibaut Courtois’ goal, and Costa should have made it 2-0 when he failed to turn John Terry’s cross into an open net from close range.
Willian flashed a shot just wide of the post early in the second half and Chelsea seemed set to dominate proceedings as Costa and Hazard led a series of fast attacks, but a mistake by Courtois allowed Swansea back into the match.
Sigurdsson powered his way into the box and the Belgium goalkeeper attempted a slide tackle but clumsily brought the midfielder down. Sigurdsson slammed the penalty down the middle, giving Courtois no chance to redeem himself.
Three minutes later, referee Andre Marriner adjudged Fer to have robbed Cahill cleanly and he stabbed the ball past Courtois and into the net.
With Swansea heading for a memorable victory, Chelsea laid siege to Fabianski’s goal and, after Branislav Ivanovic’s shot was blocked, Costa’s acrobatic finish levelled the match.
Costa almost wrapped up a man-of-the-match performance with a hat-trick when he was put through by Hazard but Fabianski was equal to his shot and the points were shared.
Key Opta stats:
– Diego Costa has scored seven goals in four Premier League appearances against Swansea City; more than he has against any other opponent in the competition.
– The opening goal of this game was Diego Costa’s 35th in the competition (in his 58th app) and only five players have reached 35 goals in the Premier League in fewer appearances – Andy Cole (41), Alan Shearer (42), Fernando Torres (52), Kevin Phillips (52) & Ruud van Nistelrooy (55).
– Gylfi Sigurdsson has now scored more Premier League goals for Swansea than any other player (26).
– Leroy Fer has scored in three of his four Premier League appearances for the Swans in 2016-17.
– Antonio Conte is now unbeaten in eight top-flight meetings with Francesco Guidolin (W6 D2 L0).
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