Diego Costa continued his exceptional start to life at Stamford Bridge by firing a hat-trick to lead Chelsea to a 4-2 win over Swansea City and extend their perfect start to the Premier League season to four matches. Costa’s first treble in England took his tally to seven goals in his first four outings as he continued to reinforced just how much Chelsea missed a striker of his ruthless efficiency in the penalty box last season. Providing further encouragement that Chelsea now have the firepower to avoid another trophy-less season, Loic Remy scored less than 10 minutes into his debut, before Jonjo Shelvey pocketed a consolation for the visitors.
It turned into a far more comfortable 90 minutes that the early signs suggested. Chelsea had actually fallen behind to a Swansea side that began superbly and could have even had more than John Terry’s 11th minute own goal to show for their early dominance. While the tide began to swing in the home side’s favor, they were finding a Swansea team which had also won its first three games of the season difficult to break down. It was the type of scenario with which Chelsea struggled often and in the end crucially last season. But they now have a predatory striker, and perhaps just as important, they now have an incisive midfield creator. As Costa added to his goal tally, Fabregas boosted his assist number for his new club to six. First a corner from the former Arsenal man was headed in by Costa before half-time, before the striker struck high into the net the other side of the interval from a precise Fabregas pull back. Costa soon sewed up his hat-trick and the three points with yet another predatory finish, before Remy made an early mark following his arrival from Queens Park Rangers.
Following a 6-3 win over Everton last time out, Jose Mourinho will undoubtedly have further stern words to his side about the ease in which Shelvey was allowed to score late on. Yet, while in September it may be far too early to make sweeping conclusions, there is little doubt that Chelsea currently look a class apart in the Premier League this season. And, as expected, their big summer arrivals, are crucial to that status.
Mourinho may well have something to say, too, about what was another in a growing trend of poor starts for Chelsea. Unfortunately for the hosts, Swansea, fuelled by the confidence from their strong start to the campaign, were anything but slow out of the blocks. Garry Monk’s team pressed and seized upon the lackluster play of their opponents, none more so than when they went in front. After winning the ball back in midfield, Swansea transitioned quickly as Ki Sung-yueng moved toward the edge of the box and caught out Branislav Ivanovic with a through ball to Neil Taylor. The left-back’s cross was designed for maximum danger and went right along the edge of the six-yard box before a panickedTerry turned the ball into his own net.
Swansea could have extended their lead, too. Bafetimbi Gomis, making his first start for Swansea in place of Wilfried Bony, was lively but less than precise with his finishing, while Wayne Routledge curled just wide of Thibaut Courtois’ goal from the edge of the box. It took Chelsea until more than halfway through the opening period to find their feet and get on top.
While Eden Hazard was threatening, it required the brute physicality of Costa to get Chelsea back on level terms. He simply outmuscled the opposition defenders on the edge of the six-yard box to enable him to head Fabregas’ corner low into the net without even the need to get off the ground. Chelsea’s second goal had more finesse about it. The pressure had increased further from the hosts after the interval, aided by Mourinho’s decision to replace Andre Schurrle with Ramires. And 11 minutes into the second half they were in front. A delightful interchange with Hazard allowed Fabregas to get in behind down the left of the box and he calmly looked up and picked out Costa, who made not mistake. Chelsea’s third was a similar story of Costa again showing exemplary movement and awareness in the penalty area. This time he latched onto Ramires’ scuffed shot and swept a shot past Lukasz Fabianski.
Remy displayed a predatory touch of his own when striking a first-time shot into the net after good work from Oscar. The way in which Shelvey burst through the center of Chelsea’s defense and coolly finished past Courtois will give Mourinho something to ponder ahead of the Champions League encounter with Schalke on Wednesday, and also gave the score line a more fitting reflection of the part Swansea played in a gripping contest.