Saturday, February 25, 2017

EPL: Fabregas scores in 300th game as Chelsea beat Swansea to extend lead

Chelsea’s Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Swansea during their English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in London on Saturday. Pic/AFP

London: Chelsea moved 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Swansea. Cesc Fabregas scored on his 300th Premier League appearance, but Fernando Llorente equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Pedro scored Chelsea’s second when his shot deceived Swansea’s goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and Diego Costa added a late third as Antonio Conte’s men won a 12th successive home game. With Manchester City not in action this weekend and Liverpool at Leicester on Monday, the Blues’ advantage increased with 12 games to go.

Chelsea’s Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (2L) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match. Pic/PTI

Swansea’s only defeats in six league games under former Chelsea assistant boss Paul Clement have come to Arsenal, City and now the Blues. And the visitors might have felt aggrieved at being denied a second-half penalty when, with the score 1-1, the ball appeared to hit the arm of Cesar Azpilicueta.

Fabregas was selected ahead of Nemanja Matic for his first Premier League start of 2017 in the sole change to the starting XI from Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Burnley in their prior Premier League game.

Chelsea dominated the first half, with N’Golo Kante to the fore. The France midfielder has so often been likened to Claude Makelele, the former Chelsea midfielder who is now on Swansea’s coaching staff.

Makelele would have admired how Kante broke up the visitors’ play and showed again why he was so integral to Claudio Ranieri in Leicester’s title win last season.

Fabregas may not be considered the ideal foil for Kante, but he was out to disprove that here. The Spain playmaker almost set-up Pedro in the opening minute.

Other EPL results

  • Crystal Palace 1-0 Middlesbrough

  • Everton 2-0 Sunderland

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