After two weeks of boring international break, it was time for some real Premier League action as Jose Mourinho’s top placed Chelsea welcomed 13th placed Baggies at Stamford Bridge in a hope to further strengthen their place as the league leaders.
Despite the injury concern, Cesc Fabregas started for the Blues alongside Matic, as the boss rolled on with his first-choice lineup.
Here’s the initial reaction to the match:
- Chelsea started the game in a positive fashion as the first real chance of the game fell to John Terry in the 5th minute from a corner. The Chelsea captain was inside the 6 yard box when the ball fell to him, but Foster was there to deny the veteran defender with a good save.
Meanwhile, the Baggies started the game as expected; defending deeply in numbers with an intention to hurt us on the counter through Berahino and Sessegnon.
- In games like these last season, Chelsea would struggle to get past the opposition defense, but the arrival of a certain Spanish striker changed that for the Blues as Diego Costa put Chelsea one up in the 11th minute.
It all started when the ball was whipped into the area from the left by Oscar for Costa, who was left unmarked in the box. The Spaniard did brilliantly to chest the ball down, before volleying it over Foster. 1-0 Chelsea.
- Costa nearly doubled the lead in the 14th minute but Ben Foster was up for it this time. First he is called into making a flying save to deny a curling effort from Oscar and then he’s up quickly to turn the rebounded shot from Costa over for a corner. Diego Costa could have had a hat-trick inside 20 minutes; such was the way Chelsea dominated the Baggies.
- Eden Hazard doubled our lead in the 25th minute from a corner to put this game to bed. It was some horrific defending from the Baggies as they left Hazard unmarked in the box. Fabregas took a quick corner for an onrushing Hazard, who sidestepped Gardner with his first touch and although the West Brom midfielder got a toe on the Chelsea player’s shot, it only diverted the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs. Chelsea 2-0.
- If the Baggies thought they could salvage something from this game, little did they know that they were in for a nightmare as Yacob was sent off in the 29th minute for a challenge on Costa. The Argentine did get the ball, but he jumped in with both feet which prompted the referee to send him off within the first half hour. Hard to argue with the decision with a poor challenge like that.
- It was all about damage control for the Baggies now, as the 10 men visitors hoped and prayed for the Blues to miss the goalscoring chances. Blues, on the other hand, dominated the game in every way. Our front four linked brilliantly to create a plethora of chances, most notably in the 40th minute as Azpilicueta was denied a clear chance with a brilliant tackle from Dorrans. It was a defense-splitting pass from Fabregas which freed up Ivanovic on the right, as the Serb cut the ball back for Costa before it fell to Azpilicueta.
- The first half ended with the Blues leading the game 2-0. It was all Chelsea in the first half and the Blues could have been leading by half a dozen goals, if not for some poor finishing and some excellent, world class goalkeeping from Foster. It was all but over for the Baggies as it looked quite impossible for West Brom to come back into this game with one man down. The Blues, however, looked to add more to their tally in the second half.
- The second half started with Jose Mourinho making no changes at half-time. Matic had the best chance of the match to make it 3-0 in the 46th minute, after a chip from Oscar found him unmarked on the edge of the box, but the Serbian flashed his volley above crossbar.
- Second half had started in similar fashion as the first half turned out for the Baggies. The Blues had 3 clear goal scoring chances inside the first 10 minutes of restart but unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise on them. West Brom, meanwhile, looked to just keep the numbers down in terms of goals.
- It was all too Shaolin Soccer for Ben Foster and co., as the match looked to be played just inside the opposition box. With 10 men behind the ball, West Brom still found it difficult to contain the Chelsea attack. The Blues looked all too comfortable on the pitch and there was a time when Chelsea had 88.4% of possession in the half. West Brom completed 19 passes while Chelsea 144!
- Jose Mourinho made his first change in the 80th minute with Loic Remy coming on in place for Oscar. Drogba replaced Costa in the 83rd minute as the second change for the Blues. Ramires came on for the final 5 minutes to replace Willian as the Blues marched on their way to secure another win.
- The game ended with Blues securing yet another win in the Premier League to extend their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 18. If it wasn’t for Ben Foster, Chelsea could have thrashed the Baggies to a larger extent in this afternoon fixture. But the two goals from Costa and Hazard were enough to put Chelsea 7 points clear of Southampton and en route to be crowned the PL winners.
Edited By: Girish Bhangre