Chelsea sent out an emphatic Barclays Premier League title warning as Jose Mourinho’s side stunned Swansea by winning 5-0 at the Liberty Stadium.
Scorers: Chelsea - Oscar 1, 36; Costa 20, 34; Schurrle 79
Oscar and Diego Costa both scored twice inside the first 36 minutes as leaders Chelsea opened up a five-point gap on nearest challengers Manchester City, who welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium today, and substitute Andre Schurrle completed the rout late on as Swansea suffered their worst home defeat for 24 years.
Mourinho might currently be facing a Football Association charge for claiming there is a “campaign” to influence referees’ decisions against Chelsea, but he did not have to worry about the officials on this occasion as his team swatted aside Swansea, who were off the pace from the first minute.
Swansea had sold top goalscorer Wilfried Bony to Manchester City in midweek and there was a disjointed look about the hosts.
And when Gylfi Sigurdsson gave away possession in the opening minute, Oscar strode forward with purpose and lashed home a 20-yard shot which flew past Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea goal and was officially timed at 49 seconds.
Sigurdsson almost equalised immediately with a 25-yarder which hit the outside of the post but Chelsea cut through again with a move of stunning simplicity after 20 minutes, Willian and Oscar involved before Cesc Fabregas slipped in Costa – the Spaniard’s 15th league assist of the season.
Chelsea almost had another when Willian smashed against the post but the third arrived after 34 minutes when Federico Fernandez’s dreadful pass gave Costa the simplest of opportunities to tuck away his 17th league goal of the season.
Two minutes later and it was number four as Willian scampered through the middle to find Costa and his cut-back allowed Oscar to finish with ease.
Swansea attempted to inject some energy into their game at the start of the second half and new signing from Benfica, Nelson Oliveira, one of the brightest Swansea players, tried two long-range efforts before being replaced by Jay Fulton after 66 minutes.
But Chelsea were still determined to go in search of a fifth goal and Hazard, with a 20-yard drive and Oscar came close.
They were not to be denied, however, and Schurrle had the simplest of tasks to tap Branislav Ivanovic’s cross into an empty net 11 minutes from time and condemn Swansea to their biggest home defeat since a 6-1 loss to Wigan in April 1991.