Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 February 2018

Blues' lack of cutting edge leaves Jose with January shopping list

Chelsea 1 Swansea city 0

Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Eden Hazard, Chelsea

Sam Wallace

It was a lot more anxious than it should have been for Jose Mourinho, watching his side defeat a Swansea City team who, all things considered, should have been disposed of long before Chelsea went into an anxious four minutes of injury-time pressure at the end.

"They kill me," Mourinho said of his own players. "Every game. I'm tired." He also lavished praise on his team but the problem is the same: Chelsea are incapable of killing off games because they do not have a goalscorer to complete the job. Yesterday it was Samuel Eto'o who spent the afternoon affecting disbelief after a series of missed chances, but it might just have been Fernando Torres or the lesser-spotted Demba Ba.

Between them, the three strikers have scored just five league goals in a collective 17 starts -- Mourinho picked none of them for the trip to Old Trafford in August. Eto'o scored none of the three chances that were created for him against Swansea and it is impossible not to consider where this Chelsea side might be with a striker who had even got into double figures by now.

Instead, the goals must come from elsewhere, on this occasion from Eden Hazard who scored on 30 minutes in a period of pressure for the home side that ought to have yielded more. Mourinho complained that the Belgian winger should also have had a penalty in the second half.

WOE

As for Eto'o, the tale of woe was extensive. The Swansea goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel, at fault for Hazard's goal, did well to save when Juan Mata's ball over the top put the Chelsea striker free. In the first minute of the second half, Eto'o was six yards out when he met Mata's cross but had his shot saved by Tremmel again. The striker dragged another wide five minutes later when Hazard found him in space.

Fortunately for Chelsea, they can rely upon a defence that, changed again in terms of personnel, showed no signs of buckling. The recalled Ashley Cole and David Luiz were resolute in the closing stages.

"You don't score, you finish feeling you are going to concede. But the boys worked hard and had control. A deserved victory. An important victory," said Mourinho.

For Michael Laudrup, the result only increases the significance of the Aston Villa game tomorrow. Swansea have 10 points from their last 10 games and are still just four points off the relegation zone.

"We didn't miss," Mourinho said, "the goalkeeper made fantastic saves." He went on to offer another excuse for Eto'o but he must see what everyone else does, that this is a team in need of a goalscorer. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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