Apr 28, 2018 at 5.30pm UK at ​Liberty Stadium
SwanseaSwansea City
FT(HT: 0-1)

Live Commentary: Swansea City 0-1 Chelsea - as it happened

Live Commentary: Swansea 0-1 Chelsea - as it happened
© SilverHub
Relive Chelsea's 1-0 win over Swansea City as Cesc Fabregas's 50th Premier League goal is enough for a victory which has major implications at both ends of the table.

Chelsea moved to within two points of the Premier League's top four this evening courtesy of a narrow 1-0 win over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

The visitors took the lead after just four minutes when Cesc Fabregas curled his effort into the top corner, compounding a miserable day for Swansea after the three teams below them in the table had all picked up points.

Chelsea failed to build on their good start, but the hosts could not respond despite some late pressure as they were left with just a one-point cushion above the relegation zone.

Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

4.30pmGood afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's late Premier League kickoff as Swansea City host Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium!

This promises to be a huge match at both ends of the table, with relegation-threatened Swansea having seen results go against them so far today and Champions League-chasing Chelsea needing to avoid any further slip-ups in the closing stages of the season.

We will take a close look at the plight of both teams a little later, but first let's check out the team news...

4.32pmSWANSEA STARTING XI: Fabianski; Roberts, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Mawson, Olsson; Ki, King, Clucas, A Ayew; J Ayew

4.32pmSWANSEA SUBS: Nordfeldt, Rangel, Britton, Carroll, Routledge, Dyer, Sanches

4.34pmCHELSEA STARTING XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Fabregas, Emerson; Hazard, Giroud

4.34pmCHELSEA SUBS: Caballero, Christensen, Zappacosta, Barkley, Pedro, Willian, Morata

4.36pmWhat can we make of those two teams, then?

Well, the headline news as far as Chelsea are concerned is that Alvaro Morata is once again left out in favour of Giroud, who was also preferred to lead the line for the FA Cup semi-final win over Southampton last weekend.

Morata's form over the course of the season has been questioned on numerous occasions, but he actually has three goals in his last six appearances for the Blues, which is as many as he managed in his previous 22 before that, so there are certainly signs of improvement. That is not enough to earn him a starting berth today, though, as he is forced to settle for a place amongst the subs.

Alvaro Morata complains during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Manchester United on November 5, 2017© Offside

4.38pmGiroud has begun to find the net on a more regular basis for Chelsea - including in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend, although Morata also came off the bench to score in that game.

Giroud has been most effective as an impact player so far this season, though, with all six of his Premier League goals in 2017-18 coming off the bench - a Premier League record for a single campaign. The Frenchman does have a decent record at this stadium, though, having scored two and set up two more in his four previous league starts here.

4.40pmGiroud will be joined up front by Eden Hazard today, despite the Belgian repeatedly insisting that he is not a fan of leading the line - although the presence of Giroud alongside him should take some of the attention off him at least.

Hazard is one of a number of Chelsea players who has struggled to produce his best form on a consistent basis this season, but he will be hoping for a strong end to the campaign ahead of a World Cup which promises so much for his Belgian side.

4.42pmHazard's inclusion for Morata is one of only two changes made by Conte from Chelsea's last Premier League outing, with Cesc Fabregas also replacing Pedro in the middle of the park.

One player who does make another start is Emerson, and this may well be his final chance to impress Conte for a while as Marcos Alonso is serving the final game of his three-match ban, and will be expected to regain his starting spot as soon as he is back - unless Emerson can pull something special out of the bag today.

4.44pmSwansea came into this match with something of a defensive dilemma in front of them, but Carlos Carvalhal has stuck with his usual formation despite both Federico Fernandez and Kyle Bartley failing late fitness tests due to knee injuries.

It was thought that Carvalhal might switch to three at the back, but instead it looks as though he has moved Naughton into a more central role as one of the three centre-backs.

4.46pmThat switch gives a chance for 22-year-old Connor Roberts to come in at right wing-back, while on the opposite flank Olsson retains his place.

The defensive is completed by Van der Hoorn and Alfie Mawson, both of whom also started against Manchester City last time out but were powerless to prevent the newly-crowned champions from running riot in a 5-0 win.

4.48pmThe Ayew brothers are likely to be Swansea's main attacking threats this afternoon, and Jordan in particular has been in decent form of late here at the Liberty Stadium, scoring in each of his last three home games across all competitions.

We may have to wait a while to see whether he will extend that run, though, as all 15 of his previous Premier League goals have been scored in the second half.

Jordan Ayew celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Newcastle United and Swansea City on January 13, 2018© SilverHub

4.50pmCarvalhal has made two changes from that drubbing against Manchester City last time out, with Roberts and Clucas coming in for Fernandez and Carroll, but there is also a notable change amongst the subs.

On-loan midfielder Renato Sanches, who arrived in South Wales with big expectations which he has struggled to live up to so far, returns to the squad for the first time since the end of January following a hamstring problem.

4.52pmWe may only be around 40 minutes until kickoff, but the Swansea players will still no doubt be keeping an eye on the scores from elsewhere as they haven't been great for them so far today.

Stoke and Southampton are the two of the biggest importance to the Swans, and after the Potters picked up an unexpected point at Anfield today, Southampton are now leading Bournemouth in the closing stages of their match. That latter result would leave Swansea just one point clear of danger.

4.54pmSurvival is, of course, still in Swansea's hands regardless of what happens elsewhere today, but a defeat here would ramp up the pressure going into the final three games of the season.

It is Southampton who pose the biggest threat right now as they have played the same number of games as Swansea and are just one point behind, whereas Stoke and West Brom are further back having played more games. Incidentally, despite West Brom winning today, a win for Swansea here would relegate the Baggies.

4.56pmShould Swansea not get anything out of today's game then it sets up their final two matches very nicely indeed for a dramatic relegation battle, though of course Carvalhal will hope that it is all over before that.

After today's match Swansea have three games remaining, the first of which comes against Bournemouth. Then, though, they must face 18th-placed Southampton and 19th-placed Stoke in their last two games, and defeat in either could prove fatal for their survival hopes.

4.58pmThe good news for Swansea is that both of those six-pointers - and three of their final four games of the season - come at home, where they have been so impressive under Carlos Carvalhal.

Indeed, the Swans have only lost one of their last nine home games across all competitions, including a run of seven wins in a row prior to defeat and a draw in their last two. That run also includes victories over Liverpool and Arsenal, which should give them plenty of confidence heading into this match.

5pmSwansea have not been beaten at home by a club sitting outside the top four since November 4 and, in the Premier League alone, are unbeaten at the Liberty Stadium since their very first home game of 2018 - a run of five games. Another this afternoon would equal the club record of six for the Premier League, set between November 2011 and January 2012.

Swansea's improvement in front of their own fans has been substantial, winning just two of their opening 11 home league games but now picking up 13 points from the last 15 on offer in South Wales.

5.02pmHome and away Swansea come into this match winless in their last six games across all competitions and five in the Premier League, which has significantly halted their momentum after they had lost just one of their previous 13 outings before that.

Their three defeats in that time having come against Tottenham and the two Manchester clubs, though, while during an ongoing five-match winless streak in the Premier League, four of those games were away from home, so Carvalhal won't be sounding the panic alarms just yet.

5.04pmSurprisingly for a team in such a precarious position, Swansea have not lost back-to-back Premier League games since December, and only one of their five league losses since Christmas has come against a team outside the top four.

Carvalhal would have certainly taken this position had you offered it to him when he took over with the club bottom of the table, and a victory today would see Swansea become the first non top-six side to beat three of those teams this season.

5.06pmThere is plenty for Chelsea to be wary of this afternoon, then - from Swansea's impressive home form to their desire to stay in the Premier League - but this is also a must-win game for the Blues today.

Liverpool's draw with Stoke earlier in the day saw them drop more points in the top-four race, but it will be Tottenham who are most firmly in Chelsea's sights at the moment. Five points currently separate the two London clubs either side of that all-important dotted line, so there is still plenty of work for Chelsea to do.

5.08pmChelsea cannot afford any more slip-ups over their final four games of the season, but a victory here today would see the gap close to two points prior to Tottenham's match against Watford on Monday night.

Spurs will also be looking to bounce back from seeing their final hope of silverware go begging once again in the FA Cup semi-finals last weekend, while Chelsea are riding the crest of a wave having booked their place in the Wembley showdown against Tottenham's conquerors Manchester United.

5.10pmUltimately, though, the top four is out of Chelsea's hands at the moment, and all they can do right now is simply try to keep winning - something they have begun to do again in recent weeks.

Last season's champions come into this match having won each of their last three games across all competitions, having only won two of their previous eight prior to that run, losing four. Victory today would see them string together four wins in a row for only the second time this season, and the first time since September.

5.12pmChelsea's win over Burnley in their most recent Premier League outing actually saw them finally record back-to-back league wins for the first time this calendar year, having also overcome Southampton the week before.

However, you have to go back to November for the last time Chelsea won three Premier League games on the bounce, which is a surprisingly poor record for a team that won the title so convincingly last season.

5.14pmSpeaking of last season, Chelsea set the standard for defensive solidity during their title-winning campaign, but the same cannot be said of them in recent weeks.

The Blues have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven Premier League outings and have only managed one in their last 10, conceding 18 goals in that time. It is a far cry from the solid unit which saw them storm to the title last season, and something Conte needs to address heading into the final four games of the season against Swansea, Liverpool, Huddersfield and Newcastle.

5.16pmChelsea have failed to keep a clean sheet away from home in their last eight attempts stretching back to January 20 too, although they have returned to form on the road with win in their last three outings, having lost the previous five across all competitions.

Indeed, Chelsea had not won successive away games since November - and had only won two of 12 - prior to this latest run. Another victory here would see them win three away league games in a row for the first time since their opening three of the season.

5.18pmVictory would also bring up a landmark 50th Premier League win for Antonio Conte having amassed 49 from his previous 72 games.

Should he reach the milestone today then he would become the third-quickest manager to amass 50 wins in the Premier League, behind only Jose Mourinho (63 games) and Pep Guardiola (69 games), and yet still speculation swirls over his future.

Antonio Conte watches on intently during the Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Chelsea on October 14, 2017© Offside

5.20pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes away from kickoff at the Liberty Stadium, which means that it is time for a prediction!

This is a difficult one to call considering Swansea's recent record at the Liberty Stadium, and it wouldn't be a major surprise to see them come away from this game with at least a point. Chelsea's need to win may just push them over the edge, though, so in a match which could go either way, we're going to side with the visitors.

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Swansea 1-2 Chelsea

5.22pmSwansea do not have the best track record against Chelsea in the Premier League, winning just one of their 13 previous meetings since earning their promotion to the division.

That victory did come only two years ago, but aside from that they have drawn four and lost eight - including the reverse fixture in November when Antonio Rudiger scored the only goal of the game.

5.24pmChelsea do sometimes struggle here at the Liberty Stadium, though, with only two wins and four draws from their seven previous visits in all competition.

Indeed, the Blues needed a late Diego Costa goal to rescue a draw here in their title-winning campaign last season, with the Spain international completing his brace to canceling out quickfire goals from Sigurdsson and Leroy Fer.

5.26pmThe recent history of this fixture has very much belonged to Chelsea, though, with seven wins from their last 10 Premier League meetings home and away.

Carlos Carvalhal described this fixture as a "David against Goliath" showdown prior to kickoff and, while that may have contained a touch of hyperbole, it would certainly upset the formbook if the Swans came away with a win here.

5.28pmRight, the players are out and we're almost ready to go at the Liberty Stadium! A reminder of the two teams before we get underway...

SWANSEA STARTING XI: Fabianski; Roberts, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Mawson, Olsson; Ki, King, Clucas, A Ayew; J Ayew

CHELSEA STARTING XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Fabregas, Emerson; Hazard, Giroud

1 minKICKOFF: Here we go, then! Chelsea get us underway at the Liberty Stadium!

3 minThere is a good noise inside the Liberty Stadium here as the home fans look to roar their side on to a quick start here. It will be interesting to see how Swansea approach this game given the earlier scores.

4 minGOAL! Swansea 0-1 Chelsea (Cesc Fabregas)

4 minAh. Well that may change Swansea's approach a bit! It is a perfect start for Chelsea as Fabregas gives them the lead after only four minutes!

Swansea give the ball away in midfield Kante immediately finds Hazard, who breaks away from one attempt to bring him down before putting it in the path of Fabregas. Fabregas takes it on first time and just sweeps his finish beyond Fabianski with a lovely left-footed finish. That's 50 Premier League goals for Fabregas!

6 min

8 minHow can Swansea bounce back from that, then? Defeat would leave them in a very precarious position indeed, so they may need to throw some caution to the wind as this match progresses.

10 minDecent response from Swansea as they advance into the Chelsea box, but Mawson loses possession and Chelsea are able to counter. Hazard leads the charge, but is eventually awarded a free kick.

12 minHazard is looking up for this one today, which is a worrying sign for Swansea. He hasn't always been at his best this season, but he is heavily involved so far.

14 minPromising play from Swansea as Olsson floats a teasing cross into the box which Roberts attacks well at the back post. Emerson does just about enough to prevent him getting a clean head on the ball, though.

15 minYELLOW CARD! Andre Ayew becomes the first name in the book for a robust challenge on Emerson.

17 minGood play from Moses as he drives inside and manages to get a toe-poke away towards the far corner, but Mawson is in the right place to get a crucial block in.

18 minThe resulting corner is flicked on by Giroud, but it arrives just behind Rudiger and he cannot steer it home from close range.

19 minPoor from Cahill as he he gives the ball away straight to Clucas, but the Swansea man cannot make the most of it and Cahill atones for his error by clearing the resulting cross.

21 minOFF THE BAR! Lovely football from Chelsea as they come sweeping forward, but the end product is anything but free-flowing. A challenge from Van der Hoorn on Fabregas sends the ball high into the air and Giroud nods it towards goal, but Mawson gets a toe to it which takes it over the stranded Fabianski and clips the top of the crossbar on its way behind.

23 minKing drives forward from midfield and tries his luck, but his effort takes a deflection and ends up going out for a throw-in.

25 minSwansea are getting more and more frustrated with Jon Moss as he somehow gives a free kick against Swansea when Ayew was clearly fouled. Bizarre decision from the ref.

27 minThis game is being played at a really good tempo. Swansea are carrying a threat when going forward - which they are looking to do every time they have the ball - but Chelsea are also looking to hit them on the counter whenever they win it back. It has been a decent spectacle so far.

29 minMoses plays a dangerous low pass into the box, and Naughton takes a huge risk by letting it go through. It is a risk which pays off, but not one I'm sure his manager will want him to take too often.

31 minSwansea win a free kick on the left channel and Ki whips it in to the middle, but it is too close to Courtois and he collects it.

33 minChelsea have played some lovely football at times today. Hazard and Fabregas in particular are enjoying themselves out there, although that is not to say that they are having things all their own way.

35 minCarlos Carvalhal will be fairly pleased with what he has seen from his side in this first half, despite the fact that they are a goal down. They have not threatened Courtois a great deal, but they have held their own for the most part.

37 minThe rain is pouring down here in South Wales, which is making the ball hold up a bit on the turf. It could well affect the players' footing as the match wears on too, so defenders in particular will need to be extra careful here.

39 minSwansea win a free kick in a dangerous position on the left flank, although it was a harsh decision as Moses didn't appear to do much wrong...

40 min...Ki swings the ball into the right area, but it is well dealt with by Chelsea's defenders.

42 minSwansea need to find a way to cause Chelsea more problems at the back. They have battled well in the middle of the park, but they look short of ideas in the final third - as they have for much of the season.

44 minChelsea, for their part, need to up the tempo a little as well. Hazard has been buzzing about all game, but they haven't really troubled Fabianski since opening the scoring so early.

45 minThere will be one minute of added time at the end of this first half.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Swansea 0-1 Chelsea

6.26pmA fairly dull first half comes to an end, and it is Chelsea who go into the break with the lead in this crucial match at both ends of the table.

There have not been a lot of chances at either end of the table, but Swansea in particular have struggled to pose any threat in the final third. Chelsea have dominated possession, but they have also failed to turn that into a regular stream of chances.

6.28pmThe opening goal arrived after only four minutes when Swansea lost the ball inside their own half and were ruthlessly punished by Chelsea, with Kante giving the ball into the path of Hazard.

Hazard then broke away and poked the ball through for Fabregas, who produced a lovely left-footed finish into the top corner to bring up his 50th Premier League goal.

6.30pmAside from that, goalmouth action has been at a minimum, with Swansea avoiding any further damage but also failing to pose any threat going forward themselves.

The closest we have come to a second goal actually came via the boot of Alfie Mawson, who almost scored an own goal when he lifted the ball over Fabianski and against his own crossbar on its way over the top.

6.32pmSwansea are still in this game as long as the deficit remains at one, but something needs to change for the hosts in the second half to give them more attacking threat in the final third.

It has been a poor day for the Swans so far with all three of the teams below them in the table picking up points in the earlier kickoffs.

46 minKICKOFF: Swansea get us back underway for the second half!

48 minSwansea win a free kick which this time they play short down the right flank for Clucas to put the cross in. He stands the ball up to the back post, but Mawson is penalised for a push in the back.

50 minGood break from Chelsea as Hazard bursts forward and gives the ball out to Giroud before continuing his run and looking for a return ball. Giroud gets it all wrong, though, just floating the ball into the arms of the keeper.

51 minCHANCE! Much better from Swansea as Ayew does really well to attack a whipped cross from the left flank. He gets higher than Rudiger, but the Chelsea defender does just enough to prevent him from getting a clean connection.

53 minThe hosts are playing with a bit more urgency now as they begin to pepper the Chelsea box with crosses. Chelsea could do with a second here as that would surely kill any hope Swansea have.

55 minThe home crowd is roaring Swansea on now, but they just seem to slow down as soon as they get into the final third and that kills any momentum they have in the attack.

57 minChelsea have also struggled to make the most of their forays into the final third, to be fair, often getting the final ball wrong at the end of a promising break.

58 minSWANSEA SUB: The hosts make their first change of the afternoon as Nathan Dyer replaces King.

60 minJust half an hour remaining in this match now as Swansea look for the goal which would help to edge them two points clear of the relegation zone - something which could prove all-important at the end of the season. Chelsea haven't put this game to bed yet.

62 minStill no shots on target for Swansea today, which has been their biggest problem all season. They have fought at time tonight, but they need more urgency in the final third given that results have already gone against them today.

64 minSWANSEA SUB: The hosts make another change here as Tom Carroll replaces Roberts.

66 minSwansea have done a better job of keeping Hazard quiet in this second half, but the Belgian still looks the most likely to make something happen for the visitors.

68 minGood possession from Chelsea, but that comes to an end as Bakayoko drags his effort well wide of the target from outside the area.

69 minAzpilicueta clips a cross in to Hazard, who has lost his marker but can only flick his unmarked header at Fabianski. It is a huge chance, but the linesman's flag is up so it would not have counted anyway.

71 minSHOT! Great run from Emerson as he carries the ball all the way from inside his own half to the edge of the box before finally letting fly, but his low strike is well saved by the keeper.

72 minCHANCE! Poor defending from Chelsea as they make a complete mess of a corner, with the first header going straight up in the air and then Courtois coming out to claim it but getting nowhere near it. Jordan Ayew does get his head to the ball, but he loops his finish over the crossbar.

73 minCLOSE! Good work from Hazard and Fabregas at the other end as they combine inside the Swansea area. Fabregas gets a shot away which goes into the path of Moses, but his touch from all of three yards out sends the ball trickling agonisingly wide.

75 minJust 15 minutes remaining in this one now and Swansea are still very much in this game. Their threat has been minimal throughout, but they just need the one chance.

77 minCHANCE! Big chance for Swansea to level things up! Andre Ayew collects a pass from Carroll on the edge of the box and works it on to his left foot before looking for the far corner with a curling effort. He doesn't get quite enough curl on it, though, and it floats wide of the target.

78 minSAVE! Swansea are building some momentum here! The ball is only cleared as far as Naughton who unleashes a well-struck shot, but Courtois holds on to it.

80 minCHANCE! This is really poor from Hazard. A high ball into the box is knocked down to the edge of the area by Giroud, and Hazard has all the time in the world running on to it. However, he completely scuffs his effort well wide of the target.

81 minSWANSEA SUB: A third and final change for Swansea as Wayne Routledge comes on in place of Olsson.

82 minCHELSEA SUBS: Chelsea make a couple of changes too as Pedro and Willian come on in place of Hazard and Fabregas.

84 minWhat a huge six minutes this is at both ends of the table. Chelsea are looking to hang on and keep their top-four hopes alive, whereas Swansea need to keep themselves at arm's length of relegation.

85 minCHELSEA SUB: A third and final change for the visitors sees Giroud replaced by Alvaro Morata.

86 minSAVE! Good play from Mawson as he strides out of defence before drilling a low strike which is difficult for Courtois in these conditions, but he holds on to it well.

88 minCLOSE! Swansea are really pushing for this equaliser and Carroll almost gets it with a first-time effort from the edge of the area which bounces narrowly wide of the target.

90 minCHANCE! Another chance for Swansea as the ball falls to Routledge inside the area, but his finish is tame and Courtois is able to make a save which was a lot more comfortable than it should have been from that position.

90+1 minThere will be three minutes of added time at the end of this match.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Swansea City 0-1 Chelsea

7.28pmChelsea hold on for all three points, then, and how crucial that could prove to be at both ends of the table.

Survival is still ultimately in Swansea's hands, but today's results have left them just one points clear of the bottom three with three games of the season remaining. Chelsea, meanwhile, close the gap on the top four to just two points courtesy of Cesc Fabregas's 50th Premier League goal, but that could grow against when Spurs are in action on Monday night.

7.30pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's Premier League clash between Swansea City and Chelsea as the visitors hang on for a big result at both end of the table. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

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Gary Cahill in action during the Champions League game between Chelsea and Qarabag on September 12, 2017
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