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Pablo Hernandez struck a late equaliser as Chelsea lost their place at the top of the Barclays Premier League following a 1-1 draw at Swansea.
The Blues looked set to claim the spoils when Victor Moses nodded in his first Premier League goal for the club in the 61st minute and Swansea looked like they would be made to pay for their inability to craft clear-cut chances during a first half they dominated until Hernandez seized on Itay Shechter’s pass to fire low beyond Petr Cech with three minutes remaining.
The Welsh side were bursting with confidence after their midweek Capital One Cup win at Anfield and there was a swagger about their play during an impressive first-half display although they failed to create any meaningful chances.
Branislav Ivanovic, back from suspension, made a critical early intervention for the Blues to block Angel Rangel’s pull back and deny Michu an effort on goal as Swansea started smartly.
It was wingers Wayne Routledge and Hernandez who were at the heart of many of Swansea’s best moments and they were involved in a number of fine break-outs, one of which saw the impressive Mikel, who turned in a fine performance, make a brave block as Ki Sung-yeung.
Chelsea highlighted their threat at the other end as Leon Britton cleared off the line from Fernando Torres’s near-post header, which narrowly evaded the incoming Gary Cahill.
Moses’s driven cross was then parried by Gerhard Tremmel, making his first Premier League start of the season, who also saved a weak follow up header from Torres.
Swansea’s assurance in possession grew with Britton and Ki dictating play and Hernandez asking questions of Ashley Cole.
Michu could not connect with a De Guzman header as the hosts had difficulty breaking down a Chelsea backline well-marshalled by Ivanovic.
Ashley Williams was fortunate to escape any sanction when he appeared to force Eden Hazard over in the box before the former Lille man freed Torres, only for Williams to get back and make a timely intervention.
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo brought on Ramires for Oriol Romeu at the start of the second half and there was a marked improvement in the visitors’ play.
Hazard cut inside to get away a low shot that Tremmel held well to his right before Moses wasted a superb opportunity by heading over from Torres’s cross.
Cole’s excellent block denied Jonathan De Guzman at the other end as the game opened up but Swansea fell behind just after the hour mark.
Tremmel had saved Hazard’s free-kick but from the resulting corner Moses flicked Cahill’s header in off the post.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup quickly threw on Nathan Dyer and Danny Graham as his side sought an equaliser.
Neat interplay between Rangel and Ki ended with Cech gathering a high De Guzman shot before the goalkeeper tipped over an audacious attempted lob from Dyer.
Swansea pressed as Chelsea looked to preserve their advantage and a deserved leveller finally came from Hernandez’s placed effort before Graham was denied a winner by Cahill’s excellent block.
|10 Nov 2012||v Southampton (A)|
|17 Nov 2012||v Newcastle (A)|
|25 Nov 2012||v Liverpool (H)|
|28 Nov 2012||v West Brom (H)|
|01 Dec 2012||v Arsenal (A)|
|08 Dec 2012||v Norwich (H)|