After a frustrating international break of two weeks, club football returned to action and a lot of expectations were there on Chelsea to keep their momentum going.
The November curse and their recent record against West Bromwich Albion meant that this fixture was not a piece of cake for the Blues, who narrowly escaped defeat last season at Stamford Bridge against Albion.
But Chelsea did not disappoint as the players showed no signs of rustiness or fatigue and saw off WBA rather easily in an eventful match which saw Claudio Yakub earn a red card for a double footed challenge. So, here are the ratings for Chelsea players who outperformed Albion to re-affirm themselves as title favourites.
Thibaut Courtois: 6/10
He was seldom tested and was confident in his distribution. He was barely involved in the game apart from a few hopeful efforts by the Albion players, which he easily managed to save. These are the games which Thibaut and Chelsea will earn their clean sheets from.
Branislav Ivanovic: 6.5/10
He was untried defensively as he had a very comfortable afternoon. He was sloppy in offence at times, as he notably got in behind the WBA defence a couple of times only to drag his cross waywardly or shoot inaccurately. Otherwise, he had a very easy afternoon.
Gary Cahill: 6.5/10
Had absolutely no trouble against Berahino. He was another spectator in the game as Chelsea’s defence was hardly tested. He was a strong presence in the defence whenever he was required.
John Terry: 6.5/10
He had an easy afternoon and made life difficult for Berahino and Sessegnon as they attempted to bypass the Chelsea defence unsuccessfully. He also hit the target with a header in a set piece which was well saved by Foster.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
It was refreshing to see ‘Dave’ bombard forward and offer immense width down the left flank. His defending was as usual flawless, so the added aspect of his attacking contribution went very well in the first half as Chelsea piled on pressure.
Nemanja Matic: 7.5/10
He was unbeatable in defensive midfield as he covered the back four with his towering figure. He was anyway not tested too much against a defensive West Brom outfit which were depleted after Yacob’s red card.
Cesc Fabregas: 8/10
He was in good rhythm in the match finding players at will and bossing the game with other Chelsea creators. He provided a clever assist to Hazard, his 10th in the league, by playing a short corner which the Belgian converted easily.
He offered himself for passes and through balls all the time. His running and work rate was well used as he managed to provide the width and stretch West Brom before the red card. He didn’t provide more as the match became one-sided later on.
Oscar had a good afternoon as he enjoyed his game against a non-threatening opposition. He created the first goal by crossing to Diego Costa, who converted after good chest control. Oscar has been consistent this season with the arrival of Costa and Fabregas.
Eden Hazard: 8/10
Hazard was at his usual high levels dribbling past players at will and wreaking havoc with his change of pace and directness. He had a good game as he was able to score a goal, improving on his recent scoring form where he has been missing chances.
Diego Costa: 8/10
He offers the goal threat that Chelsea need ever since the departure of Didier Drogba. He was always hungry for a goal and looked much sharper after the rest of two weeks. His movement was excellent as he made life hell for WBA defence apart from scoring a proper striker’s goal.
Substitutes Remy, Drogba and Ramires came on late and their contributions were limited due to the fact that the game was already done and dusted. They provided fresh legs to the team which had won well.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt