Super Swansea give chugging Chelsea plenty to ponder
It was a rampaging, rip-roaring start to Chelsea's defence of their Premier League title at Stamford Bridge. This 2-2 draw was thrill-a-minute stuff as Swansea buzzed around Jose Mourinho's men with a fervour that belied the 26C heat in West London.
From the first whistle, the Swans were excellent. Jonjo Shelvey commanded the midfield with great authority, surging forward early to create an fine opportunity that Bafetimbi Gomis turned first, instead of pulling the trigger.
Chelsea fought back. From the left wing, Oscar curled a free-kick into the box that missed everything – including Gary Cahil's prancing flick – and beyond Lukas Fabianski's grasp.
Yet Swansea wouldn't be undone. Jefferson Montero, excellent throughout and with the pace and trickery that will haunt Branislav Ivanovic for the next week, surged repeatedly down the left wing and crossed for Gomis to head at Courtois. The rebound fell to debutant Andre Ayew who turned and finished expertly.
Further fortune followed for the home side as Willian attacked down the left, crossed and it deflected off Federico Fernandez high over Fabianski for a half-time lead Chelsea scarcely deserved.
Swansea began the second half the brighter and deservedly levelled. Again Shelvey found space, again he found target man Gomis with a lofted through ball. Courtois came out, fouled the Frenchman and received the inevitable red card. Gomis converted the spot kick.
Such was Swansea's dominance after the break that in the third quarter of the game they outshot Chelsea 8 to 1. With Montero a clear and present danger, Swansea searched for a winner before Chelsea finally improved in the last 10 minutes, with Kurt Zouma bolstering midfield and the hitherto anonymous Eden Hazard finally sparking into life.
Plenty for Mourinho to ponder on.
Garry Monk's Swansea are the first away team to score twice at Stamford Bridge in the PL since they did so last September.
Swansea join Wolves as the only teams to hit 10+ shots on target in a PL game away at Chelsea in the Opta database.
Thibaut Courtois' red card was Chelsea's 70th in the Premier League, 17 of which have come under Mourinho (24%).
Bafetimbi Gomis is one of 2 players (along with Gary Naismith) to have scored v Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City & Man Utd over the last 2 PL seasons.
Oscar has scored 3 goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances - all coming versus Swansea.
Andre Ayew has scored in 8 of his last 14 league games (France and England), including 4 of his last 6.
It took Ayew 599 minutes to score his first goal in Ligue 1; he scored after 29 minutes in the Premier League.
In 24 Premier League seasons, the defending champion has never lost their opening game (winning 20 and drawing 4).
Chelsea have won 14 and lost none of their last 17 Premier League fixtures on the opening weekend. The Blues haven’t lost a season opener since 1998/99 vs Coventry City.