Chelsea began their Premier League title defence in lacklustre fashion, grinding out a 2-2 draw with Swansea City after goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois received a second-half red card.
Chelsea 2 Swansea 2
Courtois sent off
Ayew scores on debut
Champions far from best
Swans dominant after break
Jose Mourinho’s men took the lead through Oscar before Andre Ayew drew level with a well taken effort on 29 minutes.
A Federico Fernandez own goal put the Blues back ahead, but Swansea were soon level through a Bafetimbi Gomis penalty after Thibaut Courtois was sent off for a foul on the French striker.
Swansea pushed to make their numerical advantage count, but were unable to force a winner in a breathless encounter at Stamford Bridge.
The hosts struggled to assert themselves in the early stages, and only had some wasteful finishing by Gomis to thank for not going behind.
The former Lyon man first headed a good chance wide inside the first 10 minutes, but the real golden chance came on the quarter hour. Sent through my a neat Jonjo Shelvey pass, Gomis took too long to manoeuvre the ball onto his left foot and allowed John Terry to clear the danger with a smart sliding interception.
However, Chelsea are not champions due to any semblance of charitable spirit, and they ruthlessly forged into the lead with their first real raid on the Swansea goal when Oscar’s low in-swinging free kick from the left-hand corner of the penalty box eluded everyone before nestling snugly in the bottom corner of the net.
Swansea continued to press, though, and found some reward on 29 minutes when Ayew produced some composed footwork to score after a Gomis header was pushed away by Courtois.
But their joy was short-lived. Chelsea regained the lead just a minute later as the luckless Federico Fernandez deflected Willian’s cross into his own net.
If Chelsea were fortunate in the first half, they were downright poor after the break.
Swansea created pressure from the off, and looked to have wrestled control of the game from the hosts when shortly after the restart, Courtois received his marching orders after being deemed to have denied Gomis a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Gomis picked himself up to coolly covert the penalty past substitute debutant Asmir Begovic, and Swansea looked well-positioned to cause an upset.
However, neither side could force a winner, despite a plethora of good chances for both, and the opening day spoils were shared.