Demba Ba’s second-half goal broke the resolve of 10-man Swansea City, as Chelsea stayed in the Premier League title hunt with a 1-0 win at Swans on Sunday.
Chelsea is again two points back of No. 1 Liverpool, with their match-up at Anfield looming in a fortnight. Swansea remains in the relegation mix, its 33 points just three above No. 18 Fulham.
Chico Flores took two yellow cards within three minutes, and Swansea City was down to 10 men by the time the clock struck 17.
The second came when Schurrle went down outside the 18 after a high challenge, and referee Phil Dowd took his time before producing the second yellow (much to the consternation of Swansea manager Garry Monk).
Yet Chelsea couldn’t find a goal, and the minutes sped by for Blues supporters. While goals were coming in bunches back home in London, Swansea was proving stout. The Premier League title was looking more and more Liverpool as they match wore on.
Swansea almost went in front, against so much of the odds, in the 60th minute. Wayne Routledge’s shot, however, was deflected wide and Swans could do nothing with the ensuing corner.
But Ba proved hero again. After his UEFA Champions League quarterfinal heroics, the Senegalese striker took a left-footed strike. A slight deflection off Ashley Williams was enough to fool Michel Vorm, and Chelsea went up 1-0 in the 69th minute.
Swans gave the Blues a few scares in the final minutes, but it was not to be for the hosts. The early sending-off proved too much.
Swansea City: Vorm, Rangel, Chico (Red card, 16′), Williams, Davies, Britton, Shelvey, Dyer (Ngog, 73′), Hernandez (Amat, 19′), Routledge, Bony
Subs: Tremmel, Taylor, Fulton, de Guzman, Emnes,
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires (Oscar, 46′), Matic; Salah, Willian, Schurrle (Eto’o, 46′); Ba (Mikel Obi, 79′)