West Bromwich Albion 2 Chelsea 3- Five Talking Points

Published 08/23/2015, 1:17 PM EDT


A Pedro inspired Chelsea eked out a hard fought 3-2 win vs a determined West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on a rainy afternoon as the Blues registered their first win of the season. The Chelsea debutant scored one and set up another in a man-of-the match performance while James Morrison scored 2 for West Brom as John Terry was sent off for the Blues early in the second half. We take a look at some of the important issues from the game:

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There was a lot of speculation over whether John Terry would start today’s game or not- the Chelsea captain having been substituted at half time for the first time in his Chelsea career last week at the Etihad. There were rumours that he had lost Jose Mourinho’s trust, and would now only play a bit part as the season wore on. However, the 34 year old started the game, and it was Gary Cahill instead who was dropped in favour of Kurt Zouma.

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However, his weaknesses were bought to the fore when he got himself red-carded for bringing down Solomon Rondon just outside in the box around the hour mark. He had been outpaced, the same problem Mourinho said was the reason for last week’s substitution.

If there was one thing obvious from Chelsea’s performance in their first two matches, it was a desperate lack of inspiration. The midfielders played dull, sloppy games and often gave the ball away in an ungainly fashion. Pedro’s shock arrival from Barcelona seems to promise change. The Spaniard, who scored 99 goals for Barcelona over 7 years, put in an electric performance as he scored the game’s opener and set up Diego Costa for Chelsea’s second.

He looked sharp and confident- in stark contrast to his compatriot Cesc Fabregas, who has been a let-down so far compared to the Messiah he was last season. His teammates really benefited from his presence, particularly Costa who found much needed ammunition for his stinging runs. Even Eden Hazard sparked to life as the Belgian found himself shorn of defenders, a rarity in the past.

After they were 2 goals down in the first half, the look on Tony Pulis’s face seemed to suggest that he had lost all hope. Perhaps his team thought otherwise, as Callum McManaman and James Morrison both combined brilliantly to exploit Chelsea’s fragile back four. Morrison missed a penalty early in the game but made amends when he beat Courtois to bring West Brom back into the game. Branislav Ivanovic in particular was often beaten by a Mcnanaman as the Serbian struggled to outpace and dispossess the youngster.
Ivanovic hasn’t covered himself in glory this season, being at fault throughout Chelsea’s opening two games. Terry’s red made Chelsea more vulnerable, and Morrison scored his second. West Brom tried mighty hard to equalize, but it was for nought. But while they may be  at the bottom of the EPL right now, but they won’t be going down if they continue to play like this.

Chelsea have now conceded 9 times in their opening three games for the first time since the 1980’s, when they were playing in the second division. Ivanovic has been destroyed by opposing wingers, while Terry’s lack of pace down the middle has meant chaos when opponents near the box.

West Brom became the last Premier League team to score this season when Morrison beat Thibaut Courtois for his side’s first goal.

Chelsea brought the Armada down to the Hawthorns as three Spanish internationals scored for the Blues- Pedro, Diego Costa and Cesar Azpilicueta, the former netting his first Premier League goal. Cesc Fabregas was the only Chelsea Spanish player to miss out.

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Chelsea are at home to Crystal Palace while West Brom play Stoke City at Britannia Stadium. Expect the Baggies to come out swinging as they look to add to the solitary point in their kitty and get off the bottom of the table.

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Chelsea, meanwhile, without suspended captain John Terry, are likely to feature Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma in the centre of defence, the young Frenchman getting yet another chance to impress.  Given Ivanovic’s woeful lack of form, Mourinho may opt to give a debut to 21-year-old Baba Rahman, freshly signed from Augsburg in Germany, and Cesar Azpilicueta would move to his favoured position at right back.

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Dipesh Gupta

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