The Liberty Stadium has not exactly been home to our finest moments of late. Since Swansea made it to the Premier League, the only time we've beaten them there was a) by the skin of our teeth and b) thanks to a very early red card. Otherwise it's been annoying draws aplenty, including one in which Eden Hazard was sent off for kicking* a ball boy.
*I don't want to get into the semantics of this right now.
Swansea are a decent team, and they're very tough to beat at home, which is why everyone was expecting Chelsea to have a tough time today. Instead, we got a procession. Thanks to injuries and international obligations, the hosts' lineup looked incapable of controlling the match even before kickoff, and then, before a minute had gone by, the Swans then shot themselves in the foot. The wound turned out to be fatal.
A possession-heavy game, especially in your own final third, relies on your team playing mistake-free football, but Gylfi Sigurdsson's pass was to Tom Carroll far too heavy, and the Tottenham loanee failed to salvage it, instead letting the ball bounce off him to the onrushing Oscar. With the defence totally out of position, the Brazilian was able to drive forward to the end of the box and plant a firm shot past Lukasz Fabianski, who didn't have a hope of stopping it.
The early goal didn't take the wind out of Swansea's sails -- they dominated the next ten minutes and gave us a scare when Sigurdsson's long-ranger grazed the angle of post and bar -- but their attempts to get back into the match seemed to drain them of whatever energy they had. From the tenth minute on, Chelsea were in complete control.
Willian might have doubled our advantage after Fabianski, who had a decent game despite the brutal scoreline, parried Oscar's shot back into play, but he smashed the rebound well over the bar. No matter. The Blues were pressing Swansea high and hard on the rare occasions when they had the ball, and were ripping apart the hosts' defence at will with flowing passing moves once possession had been regained.
It was only a matter of time before we scored again, and the perpetrator was wholly unsurprising. Cesc Fabregas, Oscar and Willian combined for one of said passing moves on the right side of Swansea's box, and, apparently dazzled by the prospect of footballers actually able to keep the ball, the defenders drifted inexorably towards the trio. Which left Diego Costa free. Oops.
Fabregas duly picked him out; Costa duly took a shot and thumped past Fabianski.
Swansea were increasingly panic-stricken. Whenever Chelsea drove forward it looked like they might score. Willian smashed a rocket into the post after a scramble in the box, and no sooner had the woodwork stopped shaking than Diego Costa was in on goal again, put clear through by a hilarious backpass from Federico Fernandez that seemed to be the footballing equivalent of an unconditional surrender. Fabianski stood in mute disbelief as Costa slotted home with predatory precision.
The hosts were 4-0 down seconds later. Again, they'd turned it over just after kickoff; again Oscar made them pay. Costa had blown through the right channel, but instead of shaping to shoot he pulled the ball back and let his less grizzled self hammer a shot into the roof of the net*. Poor Fabianski's half might have gotten worse just after that after Fabregas's stupendous through ball to Costa. Fortunately for him, Willian showed some mercy, picking up the ball after Costa had rounded the keeper and promptly thwacking it against the crossbar.
*That was our 50th Premier League goal of the season; only one other club has more than 37 as of this writing.
That was the last serious action of a first half I don't think anyone here wanted to end. Naturally, the tempo dropped after the break, although Chelsea were still well on top. Fabregas might have gotten one after good work from Eden Hazard, who was just as busy as usual and forced a good save just after 70 minutes, but most of the focus was on getting either Oscar or Costa a hattrick goal.
Unless, that is, you're André Schürre. And fair enough -- the substitute has been struggling for goals since the first month of the season -- but when he tapped in Branislav Ivanovic's superb low cross with Oscar standing right behind him, the Brazilian's frustration was obvious. It's a sign of just how rough it's been for the World Cup winner: even when he scores he's annoying his teammates.
But we should take that moment with a wink and a grin rather than with any real complaints. Swansea were awful; the Blues were brilliant, and if anyone's not smiling after a superb day in Wales ... well, all I can ask is what more you can possibly want. What looked like tough fixture turned into a veritable parade of Chelsea goals, and after struggling away from Stamford Bridge of late, it was absolutely glorious to sit back, relax and enjoy a wonderful performance.