Chelsea put a very strong lineup out for their Capital One Cup semifinal first leg against Swansea City, and the first half of play generally reflected that fact. Chelsea dominated possession and looked by far the better side, but all of their shots failed to find the back of the net and A Branislav Ivanovic gift gave Michu a chance that he wouldn't miss.
The second half started out in much the same manner as the first, with Chelsea dominating possession but creating very little in the way of chances. Chelsea were more wasteful in possession than they were in the first half, and didn't really look a threat to level the score until all three substitutions were made. Another mistake by Ivanovic left Ross Turbull dead in the water though, and Chelsea were down 2-0.
Chelsea will have work to do if they want to advance to the final now, as they will go to Wales down 2-0 on aggregate. It's certainly possible, but it will take an awful lot of work. Here are a few thoughts in the immediate aftermath of Rafa Benitez's fourth loss in his first fourteen games in charge:
- Rafa Benitez went with a fairly strong lineup in this one, likely looking to put this tie to bed early on. I'm fine with that, as long as we don't see one of the Premier League lineups coming up without both of Eden Hazard and Juan Mata because of the Capital One Cup.
- Ramires in the pivot always draws some interesting responses, and I've noticed a bit of a trend in recent weeks. Take a look at Ramires' ratings in David's community ratings update and see if you can spot the trend I'm talking about, as we're going to touch on this in the next several days.
- The squad looked mostly excellent in the first half, especially the midfield and defense. Swansea didn't look threatening at all despite the Swansea goal, but Chelsea seemed to be missing something in the Swansea 18-yard box. I thought David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta in particular were excellent for the first 45 minutes.
- The idiot that ran onto the pitch during the second half needs to be banned from the bridge for life. Buy him a QPR kit and send him on his way down the road.
- Chelsea were massively better from the second Demba Ba set foot on the pitch. They had a target for crosses, and they had a central player making runs into the box. They created more quality chances in the 10 minutes Ba was on the pitch than they did in the 80 that Torres was. There should be no question who Chelsea's first choice starter is from this point on.