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85% Duels Won – How Chelsea’s £11m Speedster Helped The Blues’ Cause Against Swansea

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Jose Mourinho

This was a must win fixture for the Blues in order to keep their title hopes alive, while victory for Swansea would have given a boost to their survival chances. The Swans were down to ten men by the 16th minute itself as Chico Flores was sent off for a double yellow. Despite that, Chelsea found it very hard to break down Swansea’s resilient defending especially after many missed opportunities. Finally a 68th minute strike from Demba Ba sealed the win for the Blues.

Both teams lined up in traditional 4-2-3-1 formation. Chelsea chose to bench Oscar and start Salah instead of him. Hazard’s injury meant Schurrle retained his place in the line-up whereas powerful Brazilian Willian played behind lone striker Demba Ba, who made a rare Premier League start, as a reward for his strike against PSG. Matic and Ramires started the game as the back four remained the same despite John Terry supposedly injured.

Swansea did not have Michu for today’s game. Play-maker Pablo Hernandez played behind striker Wilfried Bony and the wings comprised of speedsters Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge. Britton and Shelvey made up the central midfield for the home side, as the back four remained the same.

The first half was a lackluster one. Chico Flores committed a cynical foul on Willian when the Brazilian was in a good counter attacking position earning him a yellow card. A badly timed challenge on Schurrle earned him a second yellow within minutes. Despite that Chelsea failed to score any goals in the first half as we saw Mohamed Salah miss two wonderful chances when the ball was at his favoured left foot.

The second half was a more tactically worked out half. Chelsea made a double substitution at half time by introducing Oscar for Ramires and Eto’o for Schurrle. Chelsea started playing out a 4-1-3-2 formation against ten men Swansea. Mohamed Salah was shifted to the left wing where he could cross the ball using his favoured left foot while Willian and Oscar rotated the roles of a central midfielder and a winger.

Mohamed Salah showed lot of promise yesterday despite missing 3 chances. His electric pace was one reason why Chelsea had bought him and his employment in either of the wings was crucial to the stretching ten men Swansea defense. According to Squawka stats, Mohamed Salah had 9 out of 10 successful take-ons with three key passes.

With Hazard out injured during the crucial run of games, Salah’s form has been a major relief for Jose Mourinho. The Egyptian is not eligible for the UCL, and he along with Matic are the best possible options for the manger to rotate the likes of Oscar and Willian for the Premier League games. With Hazard due to return for the tie against Atletico Madrid, performances like this are encouraging.

Although, he is known for his speedy counter attacks, Salah contributed more on the defensive part of the game yesterday. He failed to have a single shot on goal, but the winger won 85% of the defensive duels – a testament to Mourinho’s plans and the work rate expected from an energetic winger.

Check out some of his stats: 


Stats via squawka

Dem Ba Ba Goal ~ Swansea vs Chelsea 0-1 13/04/2014 by chichared18023