LONDON, Sept 13, (AFP): Diego Costa scored a hat-trick to leave Chelsea top of the Premier League and the only team in the English top flight with a perfect record as they came back from a goal down to beat Swansea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. John Terry’s 11th-minute own goal had given visitors Swansea — who kicked-off as the only other side in the Premier League with a played three, won three record this season — the lead before Spain striker Costa equalised just before half-time and then scored two more goals in the second half.
Loic Remy then capped his Chelsea debut from the substitutes’ bench by adding a fourth before Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey scored a late consolation goal to bring a measure of respectability to the scoreline. Despite being doubtful for this match with a hamstring injury suffered on international duty with Spain, Costa started ahead of Remy and Didier Drogba in the home side’s attack.
It appeared a prudent decision by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho given that Costa had netted four times in his three opening Premier League games. But for around 44 minutes, the attacking play belonged almost exclusively to Swansea. Swansea boss Garry Monk was last week awarded the Premier League manager of the month award in recognition of having matched Mourinho by overseeing a return of nine points from nine available in August for the South Wales club.
Swans duo Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge showed how that start had come about by providing pace down the flanks at Stamford Bridge as Gylfi Sigurdsson drifted around in the space behind striker Bafetimbi Gomis. The first sign of danger came from a spectacular Routledge volley inside three minutes after Terry had only been able to deflect Dyer’s right-wing cross into his path.
Then eight minutes later the hosts were reeling as Ki Sung-yeung, the South Korean midfielder, weighted a pass out wide and left-back Neil Taylor’s low cross was diverted into his own net by Terry. Rather than retreating and absorbing seemingly inevitable Chelsea pressure, Swansea then pressed for a second goal as Gomis twice went close, driving wide from 25 yards before skewing a shot wide from another Taylor cross. Still inside the first 20 minutes, Routledge then curled just wide from the edge of the box.
But on the stoke of half-time, Chelsea managed an equaliser when Costa headed in a Cesc Fabregas corner, although Swansea duo Jordi Amat and Ashley Williams might have shown more interest in the ball than grappling with Terry and Branislav Ivanovic.
It was a goal Chelsea scarcely deserved but, with the first meaningful attack of a second half 11-minutes-old, Costa put the west London club ahead. Eden Hazard and Fabregas exchanged passes in the left corner of the area and the latter managed to get to the byline before sliding a pass across the face of goal that allowed Costa to sidefoot high into the net.
Gomis could have drawn Swansea level when he found himself bearing down on Thibaut Courtois, but while he lifted the ball over the goalkeeper his shot went wide of the post. Then, two minutes later, in the 67th minute, Costa had his hat-trick as Ramires, a half-time substitute, rolled a pass to within five yards of goal that the striker smashed past Lukasz Fabianski. With the game in the bag, Mourinho brought on Remy for his debut as Costa departed to a standing ovation and a beaming grin from Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s billionaire owner who spent £32 million ($53.1 million, 40.4 million euros) on bringing the former Atletico Madrid striker to Stamford Bridge.
Remy then impressed nine minutes after coming on by sweeping in a fourth goal from Oscar’s pass. Swansea then grabbed a consolation goal their first-half display merited as Shelvey raced clear and calmly slotted past Courtois from the edge of the area.