Swansea halfway to Cup win after 2-0 defeat of Chelsea
Rafa Benitez and Fernando Torres in the doghouse with fans again after another limp performance
Chelsea 0 Swansea 2. Swansea have one foot in the Capital One Cup final after a comprehensive defeat of Chelsea in the semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge. Goals from Michu and Danny Graham have given the Welsh club a precious advantage ahead of the return leg at the Liberty Stadium on 23 January.
"It was a fantastic fight," declared Swansea manager Michael Laudrup. "I cannot dream about a result like this... we have already this season achieved some historic results for the club, at Anfield and the Emirates, but to win at the European champions from last season is something very special.”
Swansea are now on the brink of their first major Wembley final but the Dane is determined to keep his feet on the ground. “There's a long way to go, believe me," he said.
That was also the message from Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez, who endured another torrid evening in front of disgruntled home fans. “F*** off Benitez, you’re not welcome here,” they chanted at the Spaniard as they watched their club surrender the initiative to the team from the Valleys.
“Obviously they have a great advantage but we have to go there, try to score a goal and we will be in the game,” said Benitez.
The fact that Benitez chose to omit veteran Frank Lampard and new signing Demba Ba from his starting line-up was another source of anger for the Chelsea faithful, who instead had to contend with another limp performance from Fernando Torres.
In contrast, Torres’s compatriot Michu scored once again for Swansea, his 16th goal since arriving in the summer. The Spaniard profited from a dreadful defensive blunder from Branislav Ivanovic on 39 minutes, but he still had some work to do before unleashing a powerful drive that beat Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull.
Michu’s 16 goals for Swansea this season work out at £125,000 each. By contrast, Torres has managed just 26 goals in the two years since he arrived at the Bridge in a £50m move from Liverpool, which means each goal has cost around £2m - the sum Swansea paid Rayo Vallecano for Michu’s services.
Torres was finally hauled off on 81 minutes, much to the relief of the Chelsea fans, and on came Demba Ba. The Senegalese striker soon made an impression, going down in the Swansea box under a tackle from Gerhard Tremmel. Ba claimed a penalty, but received a booking for diving, and minutes later Danny Graham seized on a poor backpass from Ivanovic to score Swansea’s second.
Ba then scored for Chelsea but the goal was ruled offside, much to the irritation of Benitez. “The goal was a goal, he was level,” said the Chelsea manager, who was nevertheless unfazed by his side’s performance, saying: “I was happy with the way the team worked and, if you played this game 10 times, we would win nine of them.”
Benitez will get another chance against Swansea on 23 January but if he wants his Chelsea side to score three times he’d be advised to leave Torres in London.