Chelsea has closed the gap on the Champions League places to just two points courtesy of a narrow 1-0 victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
Cesc Fabregas gave the visitors the lead after only four minutes, but Antonio Conte’s side failed to build on that early advantage in a match which had major implications at both ends of the table.
Swansea rallied late on in their search for a valuable equaliser, but Chelsea held on to boost their top-four hopes while leaving the hosts now just one point clear of danger at the bottom.
Swansea had seen the three teams below them in the table all pick up points earlier in the day with West Bromwich Albion and Southampton both winning, while Stoke City earned a point against Liverpool in a result which would have also been of interest to Chelsea.
The hosts’ day did not get any better in the opening stages of this match either as they found themselves behind after only four minutes when Fabregas swept a classy finish into the top corner to bring up his 50th Premier League goal – only the third Spaniard to reach that milestone.
Swansea responded relatively well to such an early setback without ever really looking like breaking through the Chelsea defence in the first half, and they were fortunate not to fall two behind midway through the half when Alfie Mawson lifted the ball over his own goalkeeper, skimming the top of the crossbar on its way over.
Conte’s 50th win in the Premier League – sees Chelsea move to within striking distance of the top four until at least when Tottenham Hotspur face Watford on Monday night, also setting up an important showdown with Liverpool next weekend.
Swansea, meanwhile, are now winless in six Premier League games to cap off a miserable day for the South Wales outfit, with the defeat also ending their five-match unbeaten streak at home in the league.