- League Cup
Chelsea edge past feisty SwindonESPN staff September 24, 2013
Chelsea avoided a potential League Cup third-round banana skin as they did enough to see off a gutsy Swindon.
Jose Mourinho's side have been firmly under the spotlight following an indifferent start to the campaign but they got the better of their League One opponents 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Fernando Torres and substitute Ramires.
Mourinho is fully aware of the importance of the much-maligned competition having successfully targeted the League Cup as his maiden piece of silverware during his first stint in charge of the London club, winning it in 2005 and then again in 2007.
And he sent out his clear intentions this time around as he named a strong second string at a sold-out County Ground, worth an estimated £185million compared to Swindon's £550,000.
Most of the pre-match attention was on Juan Mata and David Luiz, omitted altogether from Mourinho's matchday 18 for Saturday's 2-0 win at Fulham, with the Blues boss insisting the former has a future at the club but challenging the Spaniard to adapt his game.
And Mata, the club's player of the year for the past two seasons, certainly put in an industrious, roving performance.
His defence-splitting pass sent Torres clear while, just two minutes later, the midfielder looked destined to score himself, only for impressive Town goalkeeper Wes Foderingham to parry his effort into the path of Torres for the opener.
Torres turned provider with a neat bit of skill to set up Ramires soon after and that was the way it stayed - with two clinical attacks proving the difference against a flat-footed Swindon backline.
It was hardly a vintage performance but Chelsea did enough and can now turn their attentions to Saturday's crucial Premier League clash at title rivals Tottenham.
Swindon, meanwhile, could be proud of their display and saw a chance of their own chalked off shortly after half-time as Dany N'Guessan was correctly ruled marginally offside with his header.
Mourinho made 10 changes from the victory over Fulham, with the likes of Gary Cahill - the sole survivor - Torres, Willian and Michael Essien also starting.
Yet the Portuguese was forced into an unwanted change after just 10 minutes as Marco van Ginkel, making only his second start, hobbled off after being on the end of a strong challenge from Alex Pritchard.
Luiz's long-range free-kick brought a parried save from Foderingham but the visitors were surrendering possession far too cheaply to prove effective going forward.
And as the first half wore on it was Town who started playing the brighter football, although Chelsea enjoyed the first clear chance in the 27th minute - and a golden one it was too.
Mata played through compatriot Torres with a superb pass but the striker, one-on-one, was denied by Foderingham.
Yet the Blues did open the scoring just two minutes later as Ramires sent clear Mata but his shot was parried by Foderingham and Torres was there to convert the opener from an acute angle.
And it was quickly 2-0 as Torres turned provider with a super bit of skill to put Ramires through and he lifted the ball over a beaten Town stopper.
Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who at 40 years of age became the club's oldest-ever debutant, was twice called into action to deny Yaser Kasim and Pritchard but it was the visitors who went into the interval firmly in control.
Substitute Ramires was himself subbed at the break, presumably due to injury, and John Terry was brought on to partner Cahill, with Luiz pushed into midfield.
Town thought they had found a route back into the game minutes into the second half but N'Guessan's header was correctly ruled out for offside.
N'Guessan again found space to head straight at Schwarzer but was once more adjudged offside.
Kevin De Bruyne saw his drilled effort well saved by Foderingham before the disappointing Willian blazed over after Torres was kept out.
Willian, a £32million summer signing, sent another great effort wide as the tie entered the closing stages and substitute Demba Ba also put past the same post.
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