Blues spot on against Baggies
Written By: Robert Halter
West Bromwich Albion’s arrival at Stamford Bridge marked Jose Mourinho’s hundredth home match with Chelsea and re-united the Blues boss with a former member of his backroom staff as the Baggies manager Steve Clarke was welcomed back. After a foul by Claudio Yacob on Eden Hazard, from the resulting free kick by Oscar, his curling strike forced Boaz Myhill to parry the ball over in the first meaningful moment of the game, with just under half an hour played. On the stroke of half time, the Blues got the breakthrough when Hazard cut in from the left side and at full stretch, Myhill failed to hold onto Hazard’s low drive, and while Liam Ridgewell was hesitant in the box, an alert Samuel Eto’o put the ball away to give Chelsea the lead before the break. But the warning signs were there for Chelsea, when from Morgan Amalfitano’s cross, a header by Shane Long, cannoned against the foot of the post in the fifty fifth minute. It sparked the Blues into action as a minute later, Lampard thrashed a shot over the upright. Although Albion were back to level terms on the hour mark as from Amalfitano’s corner, Gareth McAuley’s header could only be pushed upwards from Cech and Long won the battle in the area as he nodded the ball in. The Blues made the first change by taking off Lampard for Demba Ba. The match then had a dramatic turnaround, as the Baggies went ahead on sixty seven minutes, as Liam Ridgewell supplied a pass to Stephane Sessegnon, whose low shot deceived the Chelsea keeper, as the ball trickled past Cech’s reach to land in the net. It required further subs by the Blues as John Obi Mikel took over from Cesar Azpilicueta and Juan Mata replaced Oscar. On seventy seven minutes, Myhill pulled off a remarkable save to pluck away to safety, Branislav Ivanovic’s well struck ball as the Blues went in search of an equaliser. WBA then made a change by taking off Long for Victor Anichebe. In the eightieth minute, Willian put a header over, as the Blues mounted another attack. Albion then brought on James Morrison for Sessegnon before a further Baggies switch saw Goran Popov take over from Amalfitano. The Throstles captain Chris Brunt could have sealed victory at the end but blazed over after running through on goal. In the final twist, referee Andre Marriner awarded the Blues a penalty deep into stoppage time, after Ramires had tumbled over while being challenged by Steven Reid. It was left to Hazard to salvage a point for Chelsea, as he kept his nerve to roll his spot kick into the right side of the goal.