Earlier this season, a clearly superior Swansea City were beaten 2-0 by a Hull City side they out-shot 23-3. On Sunday, the Swans got to be on the other side of a similarly one-sided game, managing just six shots to Chelsea's 28 and still scoring a small upset by earning a 2-2 draw.
There's no getting around the fact that referee Andre Marriner made Swansea's day a lot easier, most notably misreading Leroy Fer's twin fouls on Gary Cahill in the build up to Swansea's second goal. What looked early on like a rout in the making ended up being a game that could give the Swans new confidence in their ability to battle for a result ahead of a tough run of fixtures against similarly strong opposition.
Francesco Guidolin started the game with a 3-5-1-1 formation, a radical change for a club married to 4-2-3-1. True, the formation didn't really work in this game and Guidolin switched back to the more familiar shape before half-time, but this club needs to evolve tactically and it was good to see the manager begin to assert his own style. With practice, there's no reason Guidolin can't get Swansea to play as effectively as he did Udinese under his preferred system, and the extra string to Swansea's bow can only help the team stay competitive. The second-half effort was also encouraging.
Neil Taylor's response to being the fall guy when Guidolin switched formation towards the end of the first half made everyone look bad. Taylor has been frustrated lately having lost his starting place to Stephen Kingsley, but he needs to respect his manager's decision. Every minute in every game counts, and Guidolin had every right to make the change when he did. The notion that a big tactical decision should be delayed to save one player's pride is laughable; the team comes first. Since Ashley Williams left for Everton, this club has been looking for leaders. Taylor's petulance in the same week he inspiringly suggested this season will be "unbelievably difficult" is hardly helpful.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- The new shape is a good idea for the future, but perhaps this wasn't the time. Also, Kingsley and Taylor should probably have started in each other's positions given their relative merits.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Lukasz Fabianski, 9 -- Made a number of big saves to give Swansea any chance at all of staying in the game.
DF Federico Fernandez, 5 -- The Argentine was partially culpable on both goals. His weak headed clearance played a part in Chelsea's first, and it was a case of wrong place, wrong time on the second.
DF Jordi Amat, 6 -- Clearly fancied the physical challenge of Diego Costa but was ultimately lucky to have stayed on the field. More evidence he badly needs to improve his composure.
DF Stephen Kingsley, 6 -- Wasted in central defence, and was turned inside out by Branislav Ivanovic in the build up to Chelsea's second.
MF Kyle Naughton, 7 -- A confidence player who has been looking stronger this season since being named the regular starter. Won five headers and was brave if ineffective on Chelsea's second.
MF Leroy Fer, 8 -- Was a liability at first, but recovered to play a part in almost every positive Swansea play. His 40-yard pass to Barrow in the buildup to Swansea's penalty was sublime, his hustle for his own goal exactly what this club needs from all its players.
MF Jack Cork, 5 -- Not Cork's best outing, as he was dribbled past three times and dispossessed five times.
MF Ki Sung-Yeung, 5 -- Allowed Ivanovic to make a cross unchallenged in the buildup to Chelsea's first. Made no tackles or headers but did make a five-yard pass to Fer before the Dutchman unleashed the 40-yarder that ended with Swansea's first goal. A perfect example of the difference between the players.
MF Neil Taylor, 4 -- Grumbled at being tactically substituted but could have gone on merit with 56 percent passing.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 8 -- Took four of Swansea's six shots, and both won and scored the penalty. Continues to lead by example.
FW Fernando Llorente, 6 -- Was starved of service given Swansea's defensive shape but contributed a couple of headers and a key pass.
MF Mo Barrow, 6 -- Replaced Taylor in the 40th minute and provided the early cross which led to the Swans penalty.
DF Angel Rangel, NR -- Relieved Sigurdsson in the 88th minute but didn't have enough time to influence the game.