Chelsea 2-5 West Brom: Miserable Blues Bagged by Allardyce

Five star West Brom walked all over the ten men of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, shocking the league by claiming a stunning victory as it finished Chelsea 2-5 West Brom. 

The home side took the lead halfway through the first half, as Pulisic touched home from close range after Alonso’s free kick cannoned off the post. 

Chelsea looked leggy after the international break and after going 1-0 up everything seemed to fall apart. 

Thiago Silva’s second yellow card put his side in trouble and a fluid West Brom took advantage in style. 

Two quickfire goals on the cusp of half time from Periera completely turned the game on it’s head, leaving Chelsea with a second-half mountain to climb. 

The Blues started the second half well as they tried to overturn the one-goal deficit, but after another quickfire blitz from West Brom, the home side found themselves three goals behind. 

Mount grabbed one back soon after as Chelsea pressed for late on, leading to another lethal counter-attack from the visitors who got their fifth in added time.

Pre-Match

Thomas Tuchel made eight changes to the team that beat Sheffield United 2-0 in The FA Cup, his first starting line up after the two week international break which has seen a couple of players come back with knocks. 

N’golo Kanté was one of the Blues to return from international duty injured, so Jorginho stepped into midfield in his place. Edouard Mendy returned between the sticks, whilst Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner were also back in the team.

In more positive injury news, Thiago Silva returned at centre back after missing ten games with a hamstring strain.

First Half

Similarly to a trend a lot of teams experience after international breaks, Chelsea looked rusty in the opening ten minutes. West Brom even had a couple chances after their high pressing style almost paid off thanks to some reckless play from Chelsea at the back.

Just four minutes in to proceedings, the visitors nicked the ball in midfield with Chelsea trying to build from the back, leading to a free shot for Pereira that was straight in to the arms of Mendy.

One minute later, West Brom got even closer and it was all thanks to their hard work in the press again. 

Jorginho, trying to orchestrate the play from deep, lost the ball which saw Pereira running at Thiago Silva, the last defender. Perhaps struggling for match fitness after his lengthy injury absence, the Brazilian ended up fouling his man just outside the area, so nearly giving away a penalty and picking up a yellow card in the proceedings.

Chelsea hadn’t really got going yet but after 25 minutes the breakthrough came. The home side needed a set piece to forge the chance, and it was through the usually reliable left foot of Marcos Alonso from range. 

The Spaniard’s free kick, from around 25 yards out on the right hand side of the box, so nearly curled into the corner but smacked the post before bouncing out to a grateful Pulisic to turn home and make it 1-0.

Pulisic puts Chelsea ahead.
Pulisic opens the scoring for the Blues. Image Credit: Mike Hewitt/AP.

Considering the lack of fluidity on display from Chelsea so far, Tuchel and his side would have been more than happy to take the lead at the midway point in the first half. 

Unfortunately for Blues fans, the moment Chelsea took the lead was the highest point on a rollercoaster of first half emotions.

Less than a minute after Pulisic’s goal, a slightly over-enthusiastic block from Thiago Silva saw him follow through on a West Brom man and receive a second yellow card. Chelsea were 1-0 up but now a man down for the remaining hour of the game. 

That meant a change was needed to plug the hole left in central defence, as Ziyech was replaced with Andreas Christensen.

Chelsea managed to continue dominating possession despite having a man less than their opponents, but the lack of bodies in attacking areas was clearly having an effect on the teams ability to create chances. 

As the half entered injury time, it appeared as if Chelsea would come back out with 45 minutes to defend their one goal advantage – but the Premier League as ever, is completely unpredictable and no one would’ve guessed what happened next.

Thiago Silva is sent off by David Coote in ridiculous fashion.
Thiago Silva’s sending off was a hugely controversial decision. Image Credit: Clive Rose/Reuters.

Firstly, a hopeful punt forward by Baggies ‘keeper Sam Johnstone caught the Chelsea defence napping, as that man Pereira charged on to the long ball and beat Mendy to it before easily lifting it over him to make it 1-1.

Conceding an equaliser right on the cusp of half time was the last thing the ten men of Chelsea needed. Little did they know, it was going to get worse. 

Winger Matt Phillips barely gave Chelsea a second to breath after the equaliser before he cut inside from the right onto his left foot, and unleashed a curling effort towards the far post, which clipped the top of the bar – Chelsea were rattled.

West Brom’s most potent attacking threat of the game was at it again as Pereira kept his composure in the box, took his time and side footed the ball past Mendy into the bottom corner to give his side a shock lead.

Tuchel’s side had fallen apart in the space of five minutes and the German’s undefeated record as Chelsea boss was under massive threat.

Second Half

Trying to protect said unbeaten run, Tuchel made his second change at the break as Mason Mount was brought on for goalscorer Pulisic. With a one goal deficit to overturn and a one man disadvantage, the high energy pressing style now synonymous with Mount would be needed.

It was the wing backs who created Chelsea’s first chance of the second half, as James’ looping back post cross made its way to Alonso on the other side, who fired a shot against the post again.

Alonso's effort is blocked heroically.
Alonso hits the post, which sums up Chelsea’s performance. Image Credit: John Walton/PA.

Substitute Mount almost found an equaliser in smart fashion moments later, via a free kick out wide on the left. Whilst the West Brom defence were all ready to defend a ball into the box, Mount whipped the ball in towards the near post, catching Johnstone out, who luckily saw the ball hit the  side netting.

The period just after half time was about as good as it got for Chelsea, before West Brom turned up the heat again. 

An unbelievable passing move on the counter from the visitors after 65 minutes saw Furlong with space to cross in from the right, clipping a perfect ball into Robinson’s path, who was at the edge of the box and charging onto it at speed. The finish matched the move, as he casually side footed it on the volley, sending the ball flying past Mendy into the top corner. 3-1. 

West Brom were playing the best football they had all season, and looked far from a team under huge threat of relegation. 

Their tails were firmly up and two minutes later they added another stunning goal. Another swift counter attack saw Townsend running clean through down the left, before he smartly back heeled to Periera, who unselfishly picked out Diagne who ran onto the pass and finished well to make it 4-1. 

Mason Mount reduces the deficit.
Mason Mount reduces the deficit slightly… Image Credit: Clive Rose/Reuters.

The goals were flowing at Stamford Bridge in a game that was surprisingly open, considering the fact that West Brom could have decided to shut up shop and protect the lead they had. 

Chelsea refused to go down without a fight and Mount gave his side a fighting chance with 20 minutes to go. Alonso’s cross from the left reached Werner, who opted not to shoot and picked out Mount for a tap in to make it 4-2. 

The game being pulled back to two goals was perhaps the sign for West Brom to reign the counter attacking in and sit deeper, which meant that the closing stages were full of long spells of Chelsea possession. 

Despite having the majority of the ball, it ultimately meant nothing for Chelsea as they failed to break down West Brom late on in the game, before being caught on the break yet again.

Callum Robinson makes it Chelsea 2-5 West Brom.
Robinson makes it Chelsea 2-5 West Brom. Image Credit: John Walton/PA.

Robinson ran onto a through ball in injury time and delicately chipped it over Mendy to make it Chelsea 2-5 West Brom, and that was that.

FULL TIME: Chelsea 2-5 West Brom. 

Final Thoughts: Chelsea 2-5 West Brom

Whatever you say about the red card decision – which was outrageous – the fact remains that 19th placed West Brom have come to Stamford Bridge and put five past Chelsea. Thomas Tuchel’s 14 match unbeaten start as Chelsea manager is over, and in horrible style. The first half was abject with Jorginho, Kovacic and Zouma all particularly poor.

It is a huge wake up call for Chelsea, ahead of the first leg of their Champions League quarter final against Porto on Wednesday. Play like that in Seville, and we may as well not turn up at all.  

Written by Dom Domaingue (@dmdsport)

Edited by Rob Pratley

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