Swansea City saw their gap from the bottom three reduced to just 3 points after a narrow 1-0 home defeat against top-four chasing Chelsea.
Cesc Fabregas got the winner after just 4 minutes, as Chelsea stole possession in Swansea’s half. Some poor reactions from the Swansea midfield and missed tackles allowed the visitors to get the ball to Fabregas who had enough time and space to curl a classy shot into the top corner.
We were never able to get back into the game and we had to wait until the 77th minute before we were able to force Courtois into making a save. Kyle Naughton, of all players, saw our first effort test the goalkeeper, and another two followed within the next 12 minutes. Alfie Mawson, another defender, saw a long-range effort easily saved before our final effort came in the 89th minute when substitute Wayne Routledge drove a low shot at the Belgian.
With defensive duo Federico Fernandez and Kyle Bartley both injured for the game, we expected Carvalhal to be forced into a formation change, switching from his favoured 5-4-1 to a back four, possibly a 4-5-1, but he instead brought in youngster Connor Roberts at right wing-back, shifting Kyle Naughton across to right centre-back.
As you can see in the graphic below, Naughton (26) pretty much played as a right back and was always available as a passing option for Connor Roberts (52) down the right. In fairness to the duo, both played pretty well, and Naughton looked more comfortable in his new role.
It was a different story on the opposite flank though. Martin Olsson has barely looked like the same player that he was last year, but in his defence he had no support like Roberts did.
Clucas (17) averages a position alongside him, but there was a number of times when Olsson was on his own as he made his way down the left. Clucas and Andre Ayew were the two attacking midfield players in front of the holding King and Ki, but neither were able to link up with Jordan Ayew in the lone striker role. Both players were playing too wide too often, leaving Jordan all on his own through the middle.
Looking at Chelsea’s shape briefly, they were more attacking down the right with Moses and Fabregas linking up, but on the left, Bakayoko and Emerson both averaged positions in their own half. Hazard was Fabregas’ opposite number, playing as a wide left attacker but as you can see he took up a more central role, similar to Giroud.