Chelsea moved into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup with a comfortable, if unspectacular, 2-0 win over Swindon Town at the County Ground. Fernando Torres and Ramires got the goals in the space of six first-half minutes to secure victory for Jose Mourinho’s much-changed lineup. The League One side tried to make a match of it early in the second half, but Chelsea rarely looked in serious danger of having their progress halted.
Mourinho had laid down the challenge prior to the match to both Juan Mata and David Luiz to go out and show why they warranted a more prominent role in the squad. Both were heavily involved in the early going. David Luiz maybe out of favor with Mourinho due to his sometimes cavalier attitude to defending, but going forward he again demonstrated that he can be a real danger. A trademark free-kick from the Brazilian, struck with dip and swerve, 10 minutes in had Swindon goalkeeper Wesley Foderingham worried before he was able to block it away.
And with 27 minutes gone, Mata showed the kind of creative quality that made him Chelsea’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons. The diminutive attacking midfielder slipped a fine pass through to give Torres a clear sight of goal, but the striker lacked a clinical touch and his shot struck the face of the outrushing Foderingham.
Just two minutes, later, though, the same combination would yield better results. Ramires, on for the injured Marco van Ginkel, was this time the creator, with a through ball for Mata, whose low shot across goal could only be parried by Foderingham and Torres was on hand to slide in and turn the ball into the net.
Wasting little time, Chelsea soon moved into a commanding lead. Torres provided the set-up on this occasion with a ball behind the defense for Ramires to run onto and, with Foderingham slow out of his goal, the Brazilian got there first and struck fine shot with the outside of his foot into the roof of the net.
While David Luiz was forced to move into midfield as John Terry came on for the injured substitute Ramires at half-time, Chelsea still had enough quality on show to make the rest of the evening comfortable. Still, Swindon put their Premier League opponents under real pressure at the start of the second half.
Indeed, seven minutes into the period the majority of those inside the Country Ground were celebrating what they thought was an equalizer. Danny N’Guessan headed home Jay McEveley’s free-kick but his joy was rightly halted by an offside flag.
Swindon continued to toil, but Chelsea were able to see of the threat of a fight back and should have even made the result more comfortable. Kevin de Bruyne had a shot blocked, while Gary Cahill was unable to capitalize from the rebound. The best chances, though, fell to Willian. The recent arrival from Russia failed to get his first Chelsea goal first by firing wildly high and wide of the near post after Torres had a shot blocked and then errantly going for glory himself from a tight angle rather than laying a second goal on a plate for the Spaniard.