Chelsea extended their advantage at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable win over West Brom at Stamford Bridge. Goals from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard in the first half sent the Blues on their way, and Claudio Yacob’s sending off in that period ended West Brom’s hopes. At that point the Blues looked set for a big win, but they had to settle for just the two goals.
There were doubts about the fitness of both Costa and Cesc Fabregas before the game, but both of those were fit enough to make the starting 11. Chelsea came in to this one having beaten West Brom just once in their last five meetings, but they showed from pretty early on that they’d have little trouble on the day.
West Brom packed defenders around Costa early on, but he broke the deadlock just over 10 minutes in to the game. He got on the end of a delivery from Oscar, and fired home to put the Blues in the lead. The Blues dominated the first half, with West Brom getting very little by the way of chances. The pressure paid off for the Blues, as they doubled their lead just 15 minutes later.
The Pensioners caught West Brom sleeping at a corner, and they were inventive enough to take advantage. Fabregas took the corner, played it quick and low to Hazard who was unmarked at the near post, and he looked up and slotted the ball low past Ben Foster. It was a fantastic piece of play, giving Chelsea a comfortable lead.
West Brom looked outclassed, and it got even worse for them towards the end of the first half, when Yacob was sent off for what looked like a two footed challenge on Costa. Yacob didn’t connect with the tackle, and the card was debatable, but from then on Chelsea looked assured of the win.
The Stamford Bridge faithful would have thought they were in for a few more goals in the second half, but it wasn’t to be. They controlled the game, but it fizzled out as the Blues began to make changes ahead of the Schalke game on Tuesday night. In the end the league leaders dominated it, having almost 75% of possession with Thibaut Courtois having just a single shot to face all day.
That win extended the Blues’ unbeaten record to 18 games in all competitions, and to 12 in the Premier League. Jose Mourinho’s men are now seven points clear of Southampton in second, with the Saints playing on Monday night, and they maintain their eight point lead over champions Manchester City. All in all it was a productive day for the home side, and they topped it off with a much needed clean sheet, which was only their sixth of the season so far.
LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard