Chelsea’s central defender Gary Cahill believes that Swansea City’s second goal at The Liberty Stadium shouldn’t have been allowed to stand as the foul committed on him by Leroy Fer was so obvious ‘you could be sat on the moon and see it’.
Chelsea took the lead after eighteen minutes when Diego Costa scored the opening goal of the match and the Blues controlled the game for the first hour. Swansea, who had lost their previous two matches, were allowed back into the game when Gylfi Sigurdsson was tripped by Thibaut Courtois and then converted his own penalty. Two minutes after that Fer put the Swans in front and it looked like Antonio Conte was about to suffer the first loss as his new club’s head coach.
The former Italy national manager was hoping to become the fourth Chelsea boss to win his opening four Premier League matches, following in the footsteps of Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti and José Mourinho. It wasn’t to be, but Diego Costa spared the Italian’s blushes when he scored an acrobatic overhead kick with just minutes left of the match. It was the third time that Costa had scored a goal late on in a game he was lucky not have been sent off in.
It was Swansea’s second goal that caused the most controversy, however, with Cahill saying after that match, “It’s a clear foul. Come on, seriously. It was clear as day and seeing it back has made me even more angry”. The Chelsea defender posted a video clip of the incident, where Leroy Fer dispossessed him after a heavy touch, onto his social media alongside the word ‘incredible’.
The defender was so angry he went to see the match referee Andre Marriner after the game. He questioned how none of the officials on the pitch were able to see the foul and claimed that it could make a massive difference to Chelsea’s season in a competitive league. He said, “I said to the referee, ‘there’s three of you that can see that’. There were two fouls on me and between the officials they have said that they couldn’t see it. For me that is incredible. I took the touch away from him, he came through the back of me. It’s all fun and games for the fans – but it’s the players who suffer. That kills me and kills my team. We have dropped two points which is massive in this league”.
Match Of The Day 2 pundit and former Chelsea forward Chris Sutton agreed with Cahill, saying, “Marriner’s decision to allow Swansea’s second goal was an absolute shocker. There is no other way of putting it, because Leroy Fer’s foul on Chelsea defender Gary Cahill before he scored was as blatant as can be. Marriner’s mistake was inexcusable. It is an assault by Fer – there is not one foul, there is two – and it is ridiculous that play was allowed to continue.”.
Meanwhile Chelsea’s new boss and former Juventus manager Antonio Conte believes that referees need to allow Diego Costa to play his game and to protect him a touch more. The second-half of the game was a fiery affair, with the Brazilian-born Spanish striker involved in a long-running spat with Swansea player Jordi Amat. He was booked for a bad foul on Federico Fernandez and was lucky not to be sent off for a dive when pressured by the Swans’ goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Conte, who is known to be a fiery character himself, defended his striker and suggested that Andre Marriner should have been more aware of the Swansea defence’s attempts to wind his forward up. He said, “Every game the press ask me about the patience of Costa, his behaviour. His behaviour was fantastic. Today he took a lot of kicks. I think the defenders know him and sometimes they try to provoke him. It’s football and it’s normal in this situation. They try to provoke but it’s football, not only in England but in general in the world. The referee must see it and permit Diego Costa to play his football”.
As well as being angry at the nature of Swansea’s second goal, Cahill was also concerned to see his central defensive partner and the club captain John Terry limp off at the end of the match. He was seen leaving The Liberty Stadium on crutches and that will be a worry for Conte, with free-scoring Liverpool arriving at Stamford Bridge for the West London club’s first Friday night fixture of the season at the end of this week. The Italian said, “I don’t know the extent of the injury. Tomorrow we will see the situation about his ankle. He’s a warrior. I’m not worried”.