Swansea City 2-2 Chelsea: Costa bicycle kick rescues error-prone Blues

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  • Chelsea drops first points of the season
  • Swansea scored 2 goals in 3 minutes to take the lead
  • Costa struck acrobatic equalizer with 9 minutes to go

Some things change, some stay the same. Chelsea may have a new manager, but Diego Costa will always be in the spotlight.

The Brazilian striker hit twice at the Liberty Stadium, the second an acrobatic bicycle kick that drew Chelsea level and rescued an error-prone Blues defense after two goals in three minutes had put Swansea stunningly ahead.

Chelsea had a nervous start to the match, but claimed the first dangerous moment 10 minutes in as Willian delivered a low cross into the box that Lukas Fabianski had to lay out to smother. The Blues would build as the game progressed, and took their lead 18 minutes in. The home side failed to clear as the ball pinged around the air in Swansea’s penalty area, and Oscar cut the ball across the top of the box to Costa who buried the opener.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Swans had their best chance as Gylfi Sigurdsson whipped a long effort just wide. With the game lively only in little spurts, Swansea made a first-half change that appeared nothing more than tactical, bringing on Modou Barrow in favor of Neil Taylor. The Welsh international was visibly angry about being removed so early, rejecting a handshake from manager Francesco Guidolin in the bench and appearing quite heated.

Chelsea should have had a second but Costa registered a horrific miss. John Terry put in a beautiful flick across the face of goal, and Costa found himself unmarked on the far post for an easy tap-in, but somehow he missed the wide-open net, instead redirecting the ball back across the box.

[ MORE: Premier League standings

Into the second half, yellow cards began to accumulate and the game started to boil over, forcing referee Anthony Taylor to have a chat with a number of players. Following a few uneasy moments, Swansea completed a stunning charge to take the lead.

A long ball by Barrow over the top sprung Gylfi Sigurdsson, and with nobody back, Thibaut Courtois came off his line to contest. As the ball swung along the edge of the box, Courtois realized he couldn’t use his hands to prevent the chance, so he attempted a tackle and brought down the Iceland international. With the foul just inside the box, the referee pointed to the spot, and Sigurdsson buried the spot-kick.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Just moments later, Swansea had the lead, although not without controversy. Gary Cahill sat on the ball just a few moments too long, and Leroy Fer charged him down and dispossed the defender. Fer then beat Courtois one-on-one, trickling the ball into the back of the net. On replay, it appeared Fer’s thievery of Cahill was nothing more than a clear foul, hacking at the defender’s calves without contact on the ball, but the referee was unmoved.

The game exploded from that moment. Chelsea charged down the other end looking to right the ship, and Fabianski brought down Costa at the edge of the box, but no call was made. The Brazilian then fired an ambitious effort from a fair distance away that nearly found the top corner, but weaved just high.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

The Blues continued to bomb forward, and they would earn an equalizer. Branislav Ivanovic weaved his way into the box, and his cross deflected high into the air, handing Costa the opportunity to bury a bicycle kick, which he did emphatically in the 81st minute. Both teams searched brightly for a winner in a wild end-to-end finish, but neither goalkeeper would relent. The draw marks the first dropped points of the season for Chelsea, but a point for Swansea doubles their season total thus far.

Watford chasing Rennes, Senegal star Sarr

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Watford may capture one of the rising stars of the game.

Ismaila Sarr would cost the Hornets a club transfer record fee, and Sky Sports says that Watford and Rennes are about $10 million apart.

The Ligue 1 side reportedly wants $34 million for the Senegal national team right wing.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

Sarr, 21, scored a goal and an assist in Senegal’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, playing opposite Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

He posted 13 goals with 14 assists last season between Ligue 1, the French Cup, and the Europa League. He was the lone Rennes player to score against Arsenal in the UEL Round of 16.

Watford has held onto Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dodi Lukebakio this offseason. Lukebakio is also a 21-year-old right wing, and had a sensational loan season with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2019-20.

Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

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Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

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Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.

WATCH: Marco Fabian smashes set piece goal

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Marco Fabian sent a missile toward goal, and perhaps it’s good the goalkeeper didn’t get to the hand-breaking shot.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead over Chicago on Saturday in Chester, Pennsylvania, thanks to the Mexican midfielder.

[ REPORT: Man Utd locks up De Gea ]

It was a pretty set piece from Jim Curtin’s men, a backwards played free kick was laid off to Fabian for his audacious rip.

Fabian hasn’t had a wonderful 2019 season, but his fourth goal of the season will give Union supporters hope that he’ll pick up his form and make the already East-leading side all the more dangerous.