Chelsea FC will now have a very difficult task ahead of them if they want to win the Capital One Cup. After watching all of the top teams in the competition crash and burn at earlier stages, this looked to be a golden opportunity to waltz to Wembley with a two-legged victory over a good but not great Swansea side. That doesn't look like such an easy task now though, as the Blues made a pair of costly errors and lost at home to Swansea by a 2-0 score.
The game looked good for the Blues right from the start, as Chelsea held possession and built from the back without too much difficulty early. Our pivot combo of Ramires and David Luiz nearly opened the scoring within the first fifteen minutes, as the pair combined well before Ramires' weak attempt to poke it in the net was denied. It was a promising start for Chelsea though, and one that had Blues' fans smiling.
Chelsea would continue to dominate possession, but weren't creating much in the way of chances until the half hour mark. We'd often push the ball to the flanks, and try to get on the end of a cross. There was no target in the box for most of those attempts though, so very little was actually happening.
Chelsea then altered their attack a bit, trying to create space through the center. Juan Mata had a pair of shots sail wide, and had a third dangerous attempt blocked. A fancy one-two between Oscar and Mata ended up with another ball sailing just wide of the mark. There was nothing on the scoreboard yet, but things were starting to look good for the Blues.
Then, on 38 minutes disaster struck. Ross Turnbull had a rare touch of the ball, and rolled it out to Branislav Ivanovic. I don't know what exactly happened next, but Bran let the ball roll to De Guzman who then calmly fed the ball to Michu. One cool finish later, and the Blues were heading into the break down a goal.
The second half got underway with no changes, and it would start with an offside call almost as soon as the ball was kicked. Fernando Torres managed to drift miles offside when he was left alone on the wing, effectively killing a glorious chance to level the game within 60 second of the half beginning.
Torres would do better several minutes later, earning a free kick that David Luiz would send over the bar. Just a few minutes later Luiz would get another crack at it, and this one would go just wide. Still no goal, but we were threatening the Swansea goal.
Swansea seemed to sense the growing Chelsea momentum, and sat a bit deeper in defense. They'd also start to see some spells of possession, and although they didn't do much to worry Ross Turnbull, they'd use the time with the ball to break up Chelsea's momentum.
Rafa opted to make several changes, the first of which was to take off Ramires and replace him with Frank Lampard. The crowd went wild at the sight of the English legend, clearly not the happiest that he's likely going to be shown the door at season's end.
That change did little to alter the game, but his second change certainly did. Fernando Torres was remived to a shower of booing, and replaced with new signing Demba Ba. Two minutes later the final substitution was made, removing Oscar for the fresh legs of Marko Marin.
The switch to Ba upfront immediately caused some problems for Swansea, as he'd get his head on a pair of balls within the first five minutes he was on the pitch. Both were good attempts, but neither managed to find the back of the net.
Ba continued to be a menace, as there was a bit of controversy in the penalty box. He'd get on the end of a ball from Juan Mata, but some minor contact with the keeper in the box would see the ball roll out of play and Ba hit the deck. it would have been harsh to award Chelsea a penalty here, but the subsequent booking of Demba Ba for diving was absurd.
Swansea got play back under way, and within seconds we'd suffer our second defensive calamity of the night. Branislav Ivanovic made another ridiculous decision with the ball that left Danny Graham one on one with Turnbull. He'd easily round the keeper to slot home the Swansea second, and the result seemed a foregone conclusion.
Chelsea would add some late drama, as Demba Ba got on the end of a ball and smashed it into the back of the net. The goal was ruled offside, and it appears it was the correct decision. It was very, very close though, and more often then not those decisions go in favor of the attacker. Despite the goal being disallowed, it was nice to see a ball get into the Swansea net.
The final whistle blew, and Chelsea now have some ground to make up. There could be worse results than 2-0 down to try to make up, but Chelsea will have to attack well if they hope to do so. Luckily the away goal rule doesn't really matter here, as the worst case scenario should Chelsea level it on aggregate would be extra time and penalties. Having not scored a goal at home, Chelsea are now the only side that can win it on away goals.
Next up will be Stoke City this weekend, in another tie that should see us dominate possession but struggle to create too many chances. An early goal would be great, as forcing Stoke to come out of their box always increases your odds of winning. Note to Rafa...start Demba Ba this weekend. Oh yeah, and a win would be nice as well.