Premier League: Swansea City lose to Chelsea 1 – 3

Diego Costa scored against Swansea City
Diego Costa scored against Swansea City
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Chelsea stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 11 points after victory over battling Swansea City at Stamford Bridge.

Cesc Fabregas marked his 300th Premier League appearance by firing the Blues ahead, poking the ball through the legs of Jack Cork and into the net.

The hosts were stunned when Swansea equalised from their first serious attempt on target on the stroke of half-time – Fernando Llorente heading in Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick.

Fabregas hit the bar before Pedro’s curling effort restored the lead and Diego Costa netted the third from close range.

Swansea were denied a penalty when Cesar Azpilicueta handled inside the area at 1-1.
No stopping Chelsea

This was far from straightforward for Antonio Conte’s side and had referee Neil Swarbrick awarded Swansea a penalty shortly before Pedro made it 2-1 then the outcome might have been different.

However, in the end Chelsea’s sweeping forward play earned them a 10th straight home Premier League win as they took another significant step towards a second title in three seasons.

On a weekend when the first major silverware of the season – the EFL Cup – is handed out at Wembley, the Blues look unstoppable. They have 63 points from 26 games – three more than at the same stage in 2014-15 when last crowned champions of England.

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Fabregas could have ended the game with four goals on his return to the side.

The Spain midfielder had a goal-bound shot deflected behind shortly before he opened the scoring, was denied by former Arsenal team-mate Lukasz Fabianski and also rattled the bar.

With former Blues midfielder Frank Lampard watching on, Chelsea turned on the style.

While it required an error from Fabianski to restore the lead, Eden Hazard’s exquisite timing and pass for Costa to make it 3-1 was a delight.

Positives in defeat for Swansea

Chelsea were forced to work hard for three points thanks to a well organised and energetic Swansea side and the Swans looked a shadow of the team that was bottom of the Premier League table five weeks ago.

Their four-point safety cushion at the start of the day is down to three, but boss Paul Clement will have been pleased with the way his side frustrated the runaway leaders for long spells.

Llorente’s equaliser shook Chelsea who were showing signs of frustration before Pedro made it 2-1.

Swansea’s next four games – Burnley (home), Hull City (away), Bournemouth (away) and Middlesbrough (home) – give them a chance to stay clear of the bottom three before they entertain Tottenham on 4 April.

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