CHELSEA 3-0 WEST BROMWIC- Premier League
Full-time result: Chelsea 3-0 West Brom
90+2 min: Chelsea are heading back into fourth, a point above Tottenham.90 min: Willian and Hazard play a neat give and go, but the Belgian wanted it back, just as Willian clung on to it a little too long. There will be two added minutes.
85 min: Evans battles to try and nab the ball off Willian but, come on, what’s the point? This game’s over. Chelsea win a corner and are sniffing around for a fourth.
81 min: Courtois is put under pressure by Rondon and Burke but the Chelsea goalkeeper is his customary cool. And on the counterattack, Chelsea fly forward, but Moses drags an effort harmlessly wide.
80 min: Here comes Willian, in place of Pedro. Claudio Yacob is coming on for the visitors.
78 min: Morata steps inside to curl at goal from 20 yards but Foster makes a decent save. Hazard had sprayed the ball out wide for Morata to then dive on to his right foot. West Brom require a miracle. They have mustered 21 league goals all season. Manchester City? 79.
76 min: Hazard almost slides through Pedro but it’s cut out by Evans. Hegazi then kickstarts a West Brom surge upfield. That’s about it, though, before it comes straight back them, with Foster forced to boot it long towards Rondon.
74 min: Christensen is replaced by Cahill. The latter cannot start for England in Russia in four months time if he’s not playing regularly for Chelsea can he?
72 min: It could have been four, but Moses overcooks a through ball for a very eager Morata.
57 min: Rondon goes agonisingly close! Rondon simply bullies Christensen one-on-one after latching on to a thumping ball downfield, and as he bears down on Courtois, the goalkeeper comes out to make himself big, as they say. Rondon’s effort is saved, though, by which point Rudiger and Azpilicueta are back for company, and Chelsea are off the hook. From the resulting corner, Evans also went close. That was a big let-off for Chelsea
55 min: Phillips’s cross from the right is deflected into the hands of Thibaut Courtois. For a moment, the Chelsea stopper will have been panicked.54 min: Moses flies down the right, he steadies himself to shoot, it looks promising ... but frankly it’s poor and he slams his effort into the side-netting. Coming back to that Azpilicueta clearance a moment ago, if he doesn’t get there to slide in and snuff out Burke’s low cross, Rondon surely taps in. Brilliant, brilliant defending.
52 min: Burke’s dangerous ball from the right forces Azipilicueta into a brilliant piece of defending. West Brom then go again, but Rodriguez is robbed as he shimmies away from the defender. The man they call Dave is having a stormer for Chelsea.
Eden Hazard’s strike is the difference at the interval. And Giroud, who has been in the wars over the past 45 minutes, is back up on his feet.
50 min: Hazard buys a foul out of Barry on halfway and Chelsea are slowly settling into their groove once more. Meanwhile, “I know Leeds sold of a lot of stars,” begins Øyvind on email, “but the squad that got relegated still contains Mark Viduka and Alan Smith as forwards, Harte, Radebe and Kelly in defence and the sometimes excellent Eirik Bakke in midfield (as well as supertalent James Milner). But maybe they were too old at that time?”
49 min: Gibbs earns a yellow card for crashing into the back of Moses in pursuit of the ball. Chelsea will whip the ball in from the right flank.
47 min: Rudiger loses his footing but Burke cannot steal in and snatch the ball. Instead, Chelsea go up the other end with Giroud again looking for Hazard. That partnership will, regardless of what happens between now and the final whistle, be a plus point forn chelsea and Conte.
46 min: Burke replaces Chris Brunt.
45 min: Great feet by Pedro sees the ball sprayed in towards Giroud, but he cannot divert his header goalwards. It falls wide of Foster’s post and another – albeit half chance – goes begging.
44 min: Fabregras breaks through the West Brom back line but Brunt tracks his man and Foster scoops it up. Chelsea are cruising towards the half-time whistle.
40 min: West Brom win a throw from the right but, though stating the bleeding obvious, it all feels a little uphill for them now. And here come Chelesea on the counter, through Moses.
37 min: Best squad to go down thoughts: “Surely Newcastle 08-09?” emails Joe, “though if Southampton go down this year, it will have to be them.” Agreed, that Saints squad is pretty loaded and Newcastle seem the obvious challengers to Albion. This West Brom squad just feels like it is packing a few big names, a few B-Listers, even if they are continually underwhelming.
35 min: Giroud goes close at the near post but he gets his acrobatics slightly out of sync. It would have been nice
34 min: Zappacosta buys a corner out of Phillips. Can Chelsea do any damage with it?
33 min: Brunt clipped Hazard but Mason, the referee, plays advantage, as another Chelsea attack unravels. Evans takes control for West Brom, before Dawson pings a hopeful ball up top. They are going to need more invention than that, I’m afraid.
30 min: West Brom win a corner but Brunt’s delivery is not up to scratch and cleared at the front post. Meanwhile, a thought: if West Brom do indeed go down, would it be the best squad ever relegated from the Premier League?28 min: Courtois makes a good save from Dawson but the West Brom defender was offside, by about a yard, at the back post.
27 min: West Brom are taking it slow and steady as they look to respond. Can they galvanise, recover and dig out an equaliser? They win a free-kick, 30 yards from goal. Chris Brunt will swing it in, of course.
A glorious goal by Hazard, with a little helping hand from Giroud. Wonderful link-up play between the pair ends with Giroud rolling his man, Hegazi, and Hazard steams into the space to bury it with his right foot. Foster had no chance.
20: SAVE! It really should be 1-0 to Chelsea now, but a powder-puff shot from Giroud lets West Brom off the hook. A corner is worked to the Frenchman by Hazard, with some lovely skill, but he rolls the ball casually goalwards and Foster dives to save.
17 min: The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge is frighteningly flat. Chelsea need to make something happen, and no doubt it will now
15 min: Did not expect to say this but West Brom are dominating possession. There’s crossfield balls, from Dawson to Gibbs and they look at ease out there – barring that awkward Rodriguez shot a few minutes ago.
13 min: West Brom have won three league games all season, that really is dreadful. Chelsea have made them look a little like world beaters so far, though. They look comfortable, especially in midfield, with Barry and Krychowiak stroking the ball about.
12 min: Barry pumps the ball up to Rondon before again it’s Phillips causing danger on the overlap. It has been a very bright start by the Baggies. Chelsea not so much.
11 min: Moses makes a hash of cleaning things up at the back, heading the ball straight into the path of Jay Rodriguez, but the West Brom striker takes it first time – he did not need to – and he drills wide. If he takes a touch there to steady himself, it’s difficult to imagine him not sending it past Courtois. Moses is a lucky boy and he knows it
10 min: Ah, the delivery is poor and that’s that.
9 min: If Fabregas was lucky, then Craig Dawson is extremely fortunate. A reckless and high tackle on Zappacosta sees him get off totally scot-free. Up the other end, Giroud gets in between Evans and Hegazi, to win a corner ...
7 min: This, considering their need for a big performance and you would have thought an electric start, has been pretty lukewarm from Chelsea so far. Giroud has just had a half-hearted effort at goal but Conte’s side need to ratchet through the gears if they’re to do any damage tonight.
6 min: Matt Phillips fizzes in a cross from the right, and Rondon meets it first time. He sends a bullet header wide. An impressive start by West Brom. Pardew can take encouragement from this, surely. All’s gone swimmingly, bar that Sturridge injury.
5 min: Should that have been a West Brom penalty? It was a lunge by Fabregas, but West Brom seemed to have few complaints. Lee Mason had a decent view of it.
4 min: Sturridge is forced off, it looks as though he has rolled his ankle and he shakes his head as he heads down the tunnel. He looks absolutely livid with himself. He has been ravaged with injury. Jay Rodriguez is on for West Brom. He almost makes an immediate impact, and is fouled by Fabregas in the box, but by then he had already struck the ball. It was a high lunge, and Chelsea can count themselves fortunate there.5 min: Should that have been a West Brom penalty? It was a lunge by Fabregas, but West Brom seemed to have few complaints. Lee Mason had a decent view of it.2: Gibbs wins West Brom the first corner of the game as Moses blocks his run into the box and the ball diverts behind. Evans signals to the the bench that someone is in pain, but the Baggies have the delivery to deal with for the moment and Chelsea finally get the ball clear after a good 20 seconds.
Chelsea get us started, with Giroud marking his first start by taking kick-off.
30semds ago:Alan Pardew speaks. “We are obviously under pressure because we are bottom of the league,” he says. “I know Chelsea very well. I have watched them from afar. They have difficult periods but they do come through them and I have great respect for the manager and I think he will come through it – no problem.”The teams!
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Zappacosta; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard
Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Emerson, Drinkwater, Willian, Morata
West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Gibbs, Evans, Hegazi, Dawson; Brunt, Barry, Krychowiak, Phillips; Sturridge, Rondon
Subs: Myhill, Nyom, Yacob, McClean, Burke, Rodriguez, McAuley
Referee: Lee Mason