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Ramires stars as Blues bounce back


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0,,10268~10027039,00.jpgChelsea 4-1 Swansea

Ramires stars as Blues bounce back from Old Trafford defeat

Brazilian midfielder Ramires starred for Chelsea as the Blues returned to winning ways in convincing fashion against Swansea City - despite being reduced to ten men for much of the encounter.

Fernando Torres again endured a day of mixed emotions - after the juxtaposed nature of his clinical finish and devastating miss up in Manchester last weekend, the Spaniard again found the back of the net in composed fashion for just his third Chelsea goal to open the scoring for the hosts before being shown a straight red card for an overly-zealous two-footed tackle.

Despite being a man down, Andre Villas-Boas' side continued to create the majority of the game's best goalscoring chances - and it was young Brazilian star Ramires who proved to be the match-winner as he beat Michel Vorm with a precise finish in either half to ensure a haul of three richly-deserved points.

The visitors did pull back a late consolation, however, as Ashley Williams capitalised on some lacklustre defending to score the Swans' first away league goal of the season, but there was time remaining for the recently-returned Didier Drogba to adhere himself once more to the Stamford Bridge faithful with a beautiful finish on the turn in the final moments to confirm a handsome and impressive result for Villas-Boas' men.

After Wednesday's Carling Cup penalty shoot-out heroics that followed a gruelling 70-minute period down to ten men, the Blues boss can again feel proud of his team's efforts and togetherness after another commanding performance that included first strikes of the season for both Ramires and Drogba; further enhancing the impressive array of fire-power on show in SW6 these days.

And whilst Chelsea's start to the season has not been particularly spectacular in comparison to the Manchester clubs, another maximum return - their fourth in six matches - demonstrates that the West London outfit are ticking along just fine - and they closed the gap on the league leaders to just three points after United were held at the Britannia by Stoke City in the evening kick-off.

A moral victory had been recorded at Old Trafford last weekend, as despite losing 3-1, the Blues showed they have more than enough quality to maintain a dogged pursuit of a fully-firing Manchester United thanks to an attack-minded ethos that would have paid much richer dividends had certain scoring chances been converted.

This match proved more of the same, as Villas-Boas' refreshing approach to management helped the hosts to a performance that demonstrates the growing confidence of the side thanks to an encouraging brand of attacking football. Though slow out of the starting blocks and at times undone by slight fatigue as one or two players felt the burden of an exhausting week's worth of football, Chelsea moved the ball around nicely at speed and converted four chances with deadly precision.

Meanwhile, United found themselves troubled by the tenacity of Stoke City, Everton proved a tough test for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and Liverpool made hard work of a Wolves side that had failed to score in each of their previous three Premier League outings - all-in-all, this was to be a particularly emboldening day's entertainment for a capacity crowd inside Stamford Bridge.

When he was appointed Chelsea manager late in the summer, Andre Villas-Boas had promised not to be influenced by ego and reputation, and more evidence of that came with the omission of Frank Lampard from the starting line-up for the second consecutive fixture. Substituted at Old Trafford last weekend, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the England star's best days in terms of ability and peak fitness are now behind him as he was rested ahead of the return of the Champions League in the week.

John Mikel Obi started in his place whilst Petr Cech had won his race against fitness following the knock he had sustained against Fulham in midweek. Daniel Sturridge was less fortunate, however, so Nicolas Anelka was given a starting berth out wide. Juan Mata, so effective last week in the free role behind the forwards, was again offered similar freedom and it was he that fed Torres for the Chelsea opener.

The former Valencia man played a clever, disguised pass into the area that saw Torres bring the ball down before lethally dispatching the ball into the bottom corner beyond an exhausted Vorm. A congested midfield had done its best to stem the flow of the Chelsea machine, but Mata's vision was critical as he drifted inside before exquisitely chipping the ball into space for his compatriot, and Torres again showed signs of his gradual return to form with a classy finish.

Torres then turned from scorer to supplier as Chelsea launched a devastating counter-attack as the interval approached. The ball was with Petr Cech one moment and in the opposite net the next as a succession of finely-weighted passes into space - including a glorious through-ball from Torres to Ashley Cole - totally tore through the two banks of four that had previously done so well to contain Chelsea. Cole looked up, saw Ramires in space and fed the ball to the Brazilian, who made no mistake in rifling home from twelve yards.

It was another excellent contribution from Torres, but just as it seemed that he had exercised his Old Trafford daemons, his impressive day was overshadowed by a red card received for a dangerous two-footed lunge. Though he made no contact, it was indeed the correct decision as the Spaniard's overly-zealous attempt to win the ball back saw his day come to an abrupt end.

Either way, a lot of confidence in el Nino has been restored thanks to him scoring in back-to-back games for the first time since last November.

Swansea clearly took heart in the Torres dismissal as they came out following the half-time break full of renewed vigour and belief. A sustained period of pressure never truly tested Chelsea, however, as both Mikel and Raul Meireles excelled to clear dangerous balls into the box whilst the Nigerian again played an inadvertent-yet-critical part in maintaining the lead as he deflected a Nathan Dyer strike onto the crossbar.

The Swans did come close when Jose Bosingwa had to clear an Ashley Williams header off the line after a mêlée inside the penalty area, but in terms of clear-cut chances, Swansea were feeding off scraps with the ten men of Chelsea resolute in their rearguard action.

Tactically astute moves from Villas-Boas followed as Chelsea switched in shape with the introduction of Florent Malouda for Juan Mata, who was taken off to be rested for Wednesday's trip to Valencia. Chelsea switched to a four-man midfield with Malouda and Ramires occupying the wider positions as Mikel sat deep with Meireles in the centre behind Anelka, who was fulfilling the role of the lone striker with quiet efficiency.

A man who has so often sacrificed himself for the good of the Chelsea cause - whether it is through playing out-of-position as a winger or dropping deep to be the link-up man, the underappreciated Frenchman almost brought the whole of the stadium to its feet as he ran alone at the Swansea defence before crashing an effort against Vorm's crossbar from fully 30 yards. It was a moment where luck unfortunately denied the former Bolton striker a contender for the goal of the season.

That was a warning shot to the visitors, who perhaps should have suddenly retreated back into their shells in fear of another Chelsea counter-attack. Instead they continued to press for the initiative, looking to turn their increased possession into chances. Instead, another lethal sucker-punch was delivered from the right foot of the marauding Ramires.

Typifying the Chelsea side's work rate and industry, yet doing it with a sense of guile and class, the Brazilian received a weighted pass from Bosingwa, side-stepped one challenge and then waited for Vorm to guess a side and dive before simply slotting the ball down the opposite side of the goal with gusto. It was a striker's finish; cool, calm and collect, and the moment would only improve for Chelsea supporters as they welcomed back Didier Drogba from a three-game injury lay-off. A few minutes later, Josh McEachran also entered the fray.

Defensive frailties were again on show as Williams converted a late consolation with a perfectly-executed header as he lost his marker, Bosingwa, but the final say would be that of the returning Drogba as he assumed the role of chief string-puller. First he combined with another of the substitutes, McEachran, to send Ramires through on goal for the hat-trick chance put McEachran's reverse pass was a little wide and the Brazilian could only fire across the face of the target.

And next the Ivorian found himself capping off a superb afternoon for Chelsea when he received Malouda's pass, and turned on a sixpence and wonderfully guided the ball into the bottom corner with a mixture of trademark power and precision for his 145th Chelsea goal, and his first since April.

Attentions are now firmly fixed on the side's European endeavours ahead of a trip to the Mestalla, but Chelsea will travel to Valencia full of confidence.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry ©, Cole; Ramires, Mikel, Meireles (McEachran 82); Anelka (Drogba 78), Torres, Mata (Malouda 58).

Swansea City (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Rangel, Monk ©, Williams, Taylor; Gower, Britton (Routledge 56); Dyer (Dobbie 71), Allen, Sinclair; Lita (Graham 58).

The TalkChelsea.net 'Man of the Match' award goes to CHELSEA's number 7 - RAMIRES

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Excellent report but then they always are.

watched last night on Sky ..one thought struck me. I never thought we would find a replacement for Lampard but possibly in Ramires we have.

Without Frank playing he played further forward and was much more attacking.His energy and speed caused a constant threat. Hope

we never see him used as a holding midfielder again. When we were a man down his running and drive gave us our extra attacker from

midfielder.

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Nice report..nice game..apart from the sending off but hey great result!!

Yeah its funny about Lampard mean in years past when injured we have missed his presence and now not so much! Good that we have players who can carry themselves and the roles and rotate sorta thing

And good to see Drogba get a goal :D been a while

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Guest justin_3d

Excellent report but then they always are.

watched last night on Sky ..one thought struck me. I never thought we would find a replacement for Lampard but possibly in Ramires we have.

Without Frank playing he played further forward and was much more attacking.His energy and speed caused a constant threat. Hope

we never see him used as a holding midfielder again. When we were a man down his running and drive gave us our extra attacker from

midfielder.

I thought Ramires was more of an Essien replacement then Lampard. :thinking:

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I thought Ramires was more of an Essien replacement then Lampard. :thinking:

if you have watched him more closely this season you would have realised Ramires gets into more forward positions than Essien does. Much

like Lampard but at greater speed

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Guest justin_3d

if you have watched him more closely this season you would have realised Ramires gets into more forward positions than Essien does. Much

like Lampard but at greater speed

Interesting.

This whole time i was under the impression he was just an Essien in attack.

So good to look at your view! :)

And with Ramires being young and looking good for the future, where do you think Josh will fit in?

Will he take the place of Meireles?

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