FULL TIME: Chelsea 0-2 Swansea City
And that's it. Chelsea didn't play badly, but couldn't finish, and saw the bread fall jam side down repeatedly. Swansea, however, were nothing short of magnificent, staunch in defence, potent in attack when they had to be, and hungry enough to take both of the chances presented to them on a plate by Branislav Ivanovic. Oh Branislav! City are 90 minutes from their first-ever major final in English football. Chelsea - who were strong favourites for this game but were made to look second best - have it all to do if another chance of a trophy isn't going to slip through the thunderingly unpopular Rafa Benitez's fingers. We're halfway through a potential classic - and it's game on!
90 min +3: What a finish? I meant to say WHAT a finish. The ball's lumped towards the Swansea area from the right wing. Lampard helps it on towards Ba, who belts an unstoppable shot into the top right corner from the penalty spot. But he's a couple of millimetres offside! The goal's chalked off! Chelsea's heads will be spinning like billy-o at the moment.
GOAL! Chelsea 0-2 Swansea City (Graham 90+2)
Ivanovic plays a blind backpass towards Turnball. Graham pounces, rounds the keeper on the right, and belts the ball home! What a finish!
90 min +1: Davies, on the Swansea left, shanks an awful clearance back towards his goal. Ba races towards the ball. Tremmel comes out. Ba goes over - and with the crowd screaming for a penalty, is booked for diving. The correct decision, on first look. And how important will that be? This important, because...
90 min: The ball drops to Azpilicueta, 25 yards out. He cuts across it, but his volley skims off his boot and high into the stand behind Tremmel's goal.
89 min: It's Attack versus Defence now. Chelsea are swinging balls into the area from both wings. The Swansea centre-backs are standing firm. Stamford Bridge is very quiet, a boisterous bellow of "Come on Swansea" the exception.
87 min: Chelsea fans will be wondering whether Ba should have been thrown on earlier. Marin sashays down the right and finds the big man, who guides a header just wide left. If that had found the top-left corner, I'm not convinced Tremmel would have been stopping it.
86 min: Ivanovic clips a cross into the Swansea box from the left. Ba gets his head to the ball, but clanks it straight at Tremmel.
85 min: David Luiz advances, his eyes narrowing, then with danger looming, nearly clears the Shed End with a comedic effort from 25 yards. Swansea exhale. That was ludicrous. "Is Alex Aston any relation to Eddie Butler?" wonders Robin Hazlehurst (75 min). "They write with the same accent."
83 min: Both teams make a change. Chelsea swap Oscar for Marin, while the goalscorer Michu is replaced by Graham.
82 min: Lampard has his first thrash, a lump from 25 yards straight down the throat of Tremell. Stamford Bridge is a very tense place now.
81 min and a bit: Rangel is sent tearing clear down the middle by a deft flick from Michu. He's flagged offside, but I'm not sure he is. It's Rizla-paper close, benefit to the attacker, and all that.
81 min: Another change for the struggling home side. Torres, the unloved Torres, is hooked in favour of Demba Ba, who is making his home debut.
79 min: David Luiz is half asleep at the moment. Chelsea are stroking it around in their own half, until the Brazilian's lazy square ball is cut out by Michu. His team-mates get him out of trouble, with Swansea coming at Chelsea two on two, but it's not long before he's giving the ball away in the centre circle again, and sliding around the grass on his teeth while he's doing it. Proper slapstick, and not really what Chelsea need right this minute. Still, he's a ball of constant energy, you've got to give him that.
76 min: Michu puts the ball in the net again, but he's rightly flagged for offside. Tiendall, de Guzman and Ki are all involved in a sweeping move from the right-back position to the middle of the Chelsea half. Ki draws Cahill towards him, and rolls a defence-splitter down the middle of the park to release Michu, who tickles an effort into the bottom right with Turnball advancing. But the linesman's on the money.
75 min: Mata flicks a ball into the Swansea box from the left. Ivanovic slips as he chases it. There's a lame cry for a penalty kick from the crowd, but the players aren't claiming anything, and in truth the fans don't really seem too convinced by their own argument either. "Born and raised when Swansea played in tangerine," begins Alex Aston, who as we'll see is in lyrical mood, "this is a game between oligarch and the people. How Abramovich is permitted to to flaunt his filthy, ill-gained wealth is astonishing. Swansea represent everyman - and from a steel town, from whence I grew, this is a statement game. Begone, Satan!"
73 min: Michu chases a long ball down the left wing, and draws Ivanovic into a foul. It's a rare chance for Swansea to cause Chelsea some grief. De Guzman swings the ball towards the far post, where a game of Head Tennis breaks out. Eventually Chelsea clear, but Chico Flores is soon coming back at the European champions, down the right, and he purchases another free kick from a clunking Cahill. That free kick is dispatched straight into Turnbull's hands, but there's 120 seconds Chelsea aren't getting back in their quest to level the score.
71 min: To a rare old roar, Ramires is replaced by fans' favourite Frank Lampard.
69 min: Whether Chelsea would have done anything with a free kick from that incident is a moot point, though the evidence is piling up. Here we see Davies running Mata off the ball, 30 yards out, just to the right. Chelsea pack the box, but Mata swings a recklessly awful free kick into the crowd to the left of the goal, the ball sailing miles over everyone's head. Chelsea aren't running out of ideas, exactly - they're still creating plenty of chances - but a mix of frustration and desperation is beginning to set in.
66 min: Hazard looks to bust clear down the inside left. Rangel comes across from the touchline to barge him out of the road. It looks like a 50-50 challenge which Hazard has simply lost, as the Belgian is sent skittering hysterically across the lush Stamford Bridge turf on his buttocks, and the referee waves play on. But replays suggest Rangel might have played man and not ball, in which case that should have been a free kick in a fairly dangerous position. However, this is where we are. Let's move on.
64 min: Mata loops a lovely reverse down the inside-left channel for Torres. He's inches away from sending the striker clear into the area, but Williams is in quickly to wallop clear.
63 min: The first change of the evening, and Routledge is replaced by Tiendalli.
61 min: A lot of passing by Chelsea, though they're going nowhere. Suddenly Azpilicueta, who has looked lively, takes matters into his own hands and bursts down the right, his solo run winning a corner. The set piece is palmed clear by Tremmel, who can do little wrong at the moment. "Can Chelsea be charged with fielding a weakened side by starting with Torres?" Damien Neva, there, ladies and gentlemen. He's here all week, try the tapas.
58 min: Tremmel got to this one, though. Mata and Hazard combine down the left, the former sliding a low ball into the Swansea area from the left for the onrushing David Luiz, who is currently on heat. The curly entertainer connects beautifully, first time, but his low screamer is straight at the Swansea keeper, who is all over the ball like a wet blanket. Chelsea are beginning to wonder what they have to do to score a goal tonight.
56 min: Another long-range free kick by David Luiz, and this one's a wee bit better. From a central position 25 yards from goal, he wheechs a shot inches wide left of the post. Not 100 percent sure Tremmel would have got to that.
54 min: Routledge skates down the left, checks, then sends a deep ball towards the far post. Michu's there - and he tries a spectacular scissor volley. Or was it a bicycle kick? I think it might have been both at once, or some sort of stationery-pushbike amalgam. Anyway, he connects, but only wildly, the ball flying high into the stand. Still worth a sharp intake of breath, though. Speaking of Michu: "Football coverage on Sky has just officially jumped the shark," writes this report's co-author Simon McMahon. "To images of the Swansea goal they were playing Rosanna by Toto. It took me a few seconds but I got there. 'Meet you all the way ...'. Jesus wept." They were always going to go there, dreadful pun or no, as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.
52 min: Azpilicueta comes in from the right and sends a lame effort into the Swansea area. Nothing much happening for the home side right now, with the home support already slipping into a quiet funk. Meanwhile Swansea fans of a certain vintage, look away now! Fraser Thomas has sent in this lovely clip of Preston North End celebrating their 1964 semi win "as only real men do". One for the ladies, and indeed all of us who appreciate the rugged beauty of the human form.
49 min: The resulting free kick is in a dangerous position, just to the left of the box. David Luiz fancies it, but the only thing in peril proves to be the dentures of several Chelsea pensioners sitting in the stand behind the goal, as the ball's hoofed hoplessly into the crowd. What an aimless nonsense.
48 min: Torres is obviously in a mood to make something happen, because he tries to roll Chico Flores down the left, and draws a foul. The Swansea defender is booked for his mistimed lunge.
46 min: The Swansea back line is still in the dressing room, and Torres is released clear down the inside left, but he's mistimed his run and is flagged half a mile offside. He's near the Earls Court exhibition centre. For goodness sake.
And we're off again!
"Talismanic Spanish striker turns on the style at Stamford Bridge," reports Matt Dony, a wry eyebrow flicking up and down with such speed that it should carry a strobe warning for epileptics. "Chelsea fans must be over the moon." You've got that straight. Torres has done very little to endear himself to the Chelsea faithful since his £50m move from Liverpool - Michu cost £2m by the way - but he's been banging them in fairly regularly this season, and one or two during the next 45 minutes might see his stock rise a wee bit in the Shed. I'm guessing most of the home support are desirous of the introduction of Frank Lampard.
Some hope for any Chelsea fans already feeling slightly desperate: Swansea were leading in their last major semi-final, too, but it didn't quite work out for them. So there's that. If the events of the 1964 FA Cup semi between Swansea and Preston North End are anything to go by, which they patently aren't, a Chelsea defender will score a long-range goal in the second half, a minor brawl will break out towards the end of the game, and a small lad wearing a cap will be spotted waving a wooden rattle. Any one of the three would be a plus point, I'm not fussy.
HALF TIME: Chelsea 0-1 Swansea City
And that's that for the first quarter of this semi-final! Chelsea were in the ascendancy for the majority of that, but for all their pretty play didn't give Tremmel too much to do. And they've been hit by a sucker punch from that man Michu, who has scored his 16th goal of the season. But both teams have, in their own way, been very impressive. Three more halves of this, and we'll have enjoyed a classic semi-final, I'll be bound.
45 min: Stamford Bridge hasn't yet come to terms with this scoreline. It's pretty quiet, save the noise coming from the Swansea corner, the away support understandably giving it plenty.
43 min: Ivanovic, perhaps mindful of his karmic debt, cuts in from the left and unleashes a screamer towards the bottom-right corner. It's a fine effort, and sneaking inside the post, but Tremmel is behind it and turns the shot out for a corner, from which nothing occurs. A magnificent effort by naughty Branislav.
41 min: Oscar miscontrols in the centre circle and slides around on his knees like Roger Daltrey during a performance of Won't Get Fooled Again. He gets back up to twist and turn, but his loss of momentum has encouraged Pablo Hernandez to bomb in to challenge for the ball. Hernandez is late and laughably clumsy, taking Oscar's wee legs from under him. It's a no-brainer of a booking, the first of the match.
GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 Swansea City (Michu 38)
What a balls-up this is! Turnball rolls a pass out to Ivanovic, a few feet outside the area. The Chelsea centre back takes a heavy touch, allowing de Guzman to challenge for the loose ball. The ball breaks to Michu, just to the left of the grappling pair. Michu takes a touch to the left, then skelps a shot into the left-hand corner of the net. A lovely finish, comically poor defending, and will you look at this scoreline after all that Chelsea pressure!
37 min: Another Chelsea effort on goal, David Luiz sending a low fizzer wide right of the Swansea goal. Tremmel was watching it all the way with fag on.
36 min: Swansea knock the ball around in mathematically precise triangles for many seconds in the Chelsea half. Eventually Hernandez looks to turn past Ivanovic down the inside right. He's probably got round his man, but Ivanovic nudges him out of his stride. No foul, though the Swansea player wants one. I want, of course, does not get.
33 min: Chelsea have done everything but score, and they don't seem to be in the mood for scuffing one in either. It's picturebook or bust, an aesthetic tour de force. First Torres sweeps a ball into the area from the right, and Mata's so close to running into the area, taking a touch round Tremmel on the right, and slotting home. But the keeper smothers in time, Mata's plan foiled by milliseconds. Then David Luiz caresses a looping pass straight up the middle; it should release Oscar into the area, but the young Brazilian fails to control, and his fellow countryman's sumptuous ball is for naught.
31 min: Another silky move by Chelsea. Ramieres, to the right of the centre circle, slides the ball down the middle of the park towards Oscar, who backflicks immediately, and with no little style, to release Mata down the inside-right. Mata, cutting into the box, zips a shot this far wide of the left-hand post.
28 min: Davies fires a low ball into the Chelsea area from the left. Michu takes up possession with his back to goal, ten yards out, but he's robbed of the ball by David Luiz, who sashays off, his ringlets blowing gently in the breeze, as ever a study in insouciance.
26 min: Mata dances down the left and loops a cross into the centre, forcing Davies to sidefoot behind for a corner. The set piece is swung in from the right, and it's met ten yards out by Cahill, who skelps a powerful header just over the crossbar. He's unlucky. Seconds later, Chelsea are coming back at the Swans again, Hazard tippy-toeing down the inside left before feeding a square pass inside for Mata. Mata's on the edge of the D, totally clear, and sidefoots a hapless effort straight at Tremmel. Painful to watch after such good approach play. Chelsea are beginning to create chance again after that wee pause in proceedings.
24 min: Azpilicueta cuts in from the right and sends a low shot fizzing just wide left of the Swansea goal. A decent effort. Cahill steps up 30 seconds or so later, but his effort squirms wide right.
21 min: And having kept Chelsea at bay successfully for a while, Swansea press forward themselves for the first time. First Hernandez swings a ball in from the left looking for Routledge in the centre. Chelsea clear, but faff around, and David Luiz finds his attempted hoof upfield charged down. Michu takes a swipe from distance, but Turnbull's well behind it.
20 min: Chelsea are still dominating the possession, and stroking it around nicely in the middle of the park, but Swansea have pushed the whole shebang 30 yards up the pitch, and their box isn't being bothered as it was during the first ten minutes or so.
17 min: The home fans break out their now traditional 16th-minute round of applause in appreciation of former boss Roberto di Matteo. But just look at the time! They're going to have to sort this out.
14 min: A lull in proceedings, which is good news for Swansea, who have been not so much been rocking as simply outpassed and outplayed. They needed this breather. "Not that I've anything against the billionaires of Chelsea, but a Swansea - Bradford final would really be something, wouldn't it?" asks Simon McMahon, rhetorically, I'll be bound. "A bit like Average Joes v. the Jamaican bobsled team." It'd be especially nice if it started a trend of unfancied clubs winning the big prizes. Pulling examples straight out of my trousers, perhaps Everton can then win the Premier League, Brighton could have the FA Cup, Inverness Caley Thistle could pip Celtic for the Scottish title, and Rangers can win the Scottish C... actually these pipe dreams are getting totally out of hand now.
11 min: Pretty football from Chelsea, David Luiz and Hazard triangulating in from the left, the latter finally slipping the ball wide right to Ramires, who dances into the area on twinkletoes. He sends two Swansea defenders flying, a cut-price Puskas, along the turf like fire engines off to the wrong fire. But his eventual low prod across Tremmel and towards the bottom left corner is too clever by half, and the keeper snaffles easily. Such beautiful play from the home side, though, and so nearly a picturebook goal.
9 min: Swansea will need to dig in here. Torres picks up the ball 30 yards out, down the inside-left channel, and looks to curl a reminder of his Anfield days into the top right from distance. He overcooks the shot, which causes some damage to the windows of the HMV on the corner of Fulham Broadway tube.
8 min: Chelsea are warming up nicely. Hazard releases Cole down the left with a clever reverse snick. Cole's low centre is hacked out for a corner. Hazard hoicks it deep, towards the far post, but David Luiz can't gather possession and Tremmel gathers.
7 min: First corner of the day, with Oscar deedle-dawdling down the right. Mata swings it in, with both David Luiz and Torres wafting their hair in the general direction of it. Torres picks up play, second phase, down the left, and swings one in for Cahill, who plants the nut on the ball but sends it well over.
5 min: From the centre circle, Pablo Hernandez lifts a long free kick into the heart of the Chelsea area. It's as aimless as Oscar's ball was earlier, and Michu was offside anyway.
4 min: Hazard goes on a skedaddle down the inside-left channel, then rolls the ball out wide to Cole, who is starting his first League Cup tie since 1963. Cole rolls the ball back inside, whereupon Hazard sways this way and that before eventually losing the ball. Not much happening so far, though it's Chelsea who are seeing most of the ball in the early exchanges.
2 min: Oscar lumps a ball into the Swansea area down the inside-right channel, but it's aimless. Moving on ...
And we're off!
Swansea set the ball rolling. They're kicking towards the Shed End. Not much of an atmosphere at Stamford Bridge yet, but there's at least 180 minutes of football remaining in this tie, everyone's keeping their powder dry.
The teams are out. They're on the pitch, shaking hands, running around, jumping up and down, warming up and stuff. Brrrr. Chelsea are in their famous all-blue garb, while Swansea have a very Welsh red-white-and-green shirt-shorts-and-socks awayday combo going on. That franchise currently masquerading as Cardiff City should sue. Actually, I probably shouldn't give the shower running that club any ideas.
Cast and crew
Fernando Torres ousts Demba Ba from the Chelsea starting line-up while Oscar replaces Victor Moses: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Luiz, Ramires, Hazard, Oscar, Mata, Torres. Subs: Hilario, Lampard, Ferreira, Marin, Ba, Bertrand, Ake.
Swansea make five changes to the team that drew 2-2 with Arsenal in the FA Cup at the weekend, with Michu back, back, back: Tremmel, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Ki, Routledge, Hernandez, Michu. Subs: Vorm, Graham, Dyer, Monk, Shechter, Tiendalli, Agustien.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)
The Swans are swimming into uncharted waters tonight. Swansea City have made the semi-finals of the FA Cup twice in their history - both times as Swansea Town, if we're being pedantic, which we might as well be, in 1926 and 1964, losing to Bolton Wanderers and Preston North End respectively - but this is the first time they've made it to the final four of the League Cup. They're two games from Wembley, and their first major final in English football!
Unfortunately for Swansea, those two games are against Chelsea. And if you're coming at this from a Jackcentric perspective, the head-to-head record doesn't make for good reading. Swansea have been battered on their last two visits to Stamford Bridge: 6-1 in the old Second Division in 1983, then - more relevantly - 4-1 last September in a game which saw Fernando Torres get himself sent off before marching down the tunnel with a face like a skelped arse.
Swansea haven't beaten Chelsea since a 3-0 win at the Vetch Field in 1981, and haven't won at Stamford Bridge since the very first meeting between the two clubs in 1925. Furthermore, in the only League Cup encounter between the teams, in the fourth round in 1964/65, Chelsea won here 3-2, Dennis Brown and George Graham (2) doing the damage (although the second-tier Swans did level the scores twice through Keith Todd and Herbie Williams, and goalkeeper Ronnie Briggs was playing with a broken thumb, so let's not be too critical). It's a result which really does augur well for Chelsea: they went on to lift the trophy that year.
Chelsea's current form won't help Swansea's confidence much, either, hubristic home defeats to QPR or no. Rafa Benitez's side have scored 21 goals in their last five matches, 33 in their last nine. Michael Laudrup's men have, by comparison, failed to score in five of their last ten away games, and have only won one of their last six matches. They'll probably be looking to hold Chelsea to a draw before getting them back to the Liberty Stadium for the second leg. Maybe a narrow defeat will suffice. But then again, any team who can come to London and thoroughly outplay Arsenal - as Swansea did when Michu belted them in the mouth back in December - shouldn't be too afraid of what could happen tonight. And anyway, anything can happen in the cups, eh. It is on!
It is on at: 7.45pm