Chelsea beats Swansea 1-0 in Premier League
(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
By ALEX BENEDYK
LONDON (AP) Eden Hazard scored in the 28th minute Thursday to give Chelsea a 1-0 win over Swansea to remain two points off the Premier League lead.
Hazard cut in from the left and scored with a swerving right-footed shot for ninth goal of the season, which proved to be enough for the victory despite Chelsea's forwards again lacking a cutting edge up front.
Samuel Eto'o should have added a second goal just 15 seconds into the second half when Juan Mata's cross found the striker in front of goal, but fired his effort too close to goalkeeper goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel.
Despite late possession, the visitors failed to mount a serious comeback as Chelsea earned its eighth home win in nine league games this season.
"As time goes on and you don't score the second goal, you feel as if you are going to concede but the boys worked hard and were in control defensively," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.
After a quiet start, the home side found its rhythm and should have broken the deadlock after 15 minutes when A perfectly weighted pass from Eto'o found Hazard, but the midfielder dragged his shot wide.
Juan Mata then found himself with the ball on the edge of the box but his cutback to John Terry was wasted, as the Chelsea captain failed to connect properly and the ball sailed harmlessly wide of Swansea's right-hand post.
Hazard eventually broke the deadlock after he picked up the ball midway through the opponent's half, and despite being closely marshalled by Swansea defender Jordi Amat, found that extra yard of space to unleash a powerful shot which managed to squeeze past the Swansea keeper.
With Chelsea looking for a second, Swansea looked dangerous on the counterattack, and the visitors' best chance fell to striker Alvaro Vazquez in the 33rd. Jonjo Shelvey flicked his header across the box and Vazques connected perfectly but his side-footed volley was expertly tipped over the bar by Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal.
After his miss at the start of the second half, Eto'o had a chance make amends after receiving a cross from Hazard, but his shot dragged past Tremmel's right-hand post.
Despite sustained possession in the final 10 minutes of the game, the visitors failed to create any clear-cut chances as Mourinho extended his unbeaten record in the league at Stamford Bridge to 69 games.
"We started OK, and the fact that we were in the game until the last second is positive," Swansea manager Michael Laudrup said. "We have to bring that positive thing into the next game against Aston Villa."
Updated December 26, 2013