Three things we learned from Chelsea - West Brom
Chelsea - West Brom was an absolute thriller at Stamford Bridge, as the Baggies beat the Blues 5-2 in a huge shock as they won at Chelsea for the first time since 1978.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
This game had everything as Chelsea took the lead through Christian Pulisic but Thiago Silva was sent off in the first half and West Brom took full advantage of their one man advantage.
Matheus Pereira scored twice in first half stoppage time to put West Brom ahead, while Callum Robinson made it 3-1 and Mbaye Diagne made it 4-1.
Mason Mount pulled one back late on but West Brom made it five as Robinson scored a second to seal a huge win in their season as Sam Allardyce’s side breathed new life into their battle against relegation as they are now seven points from safety.
As for Chelsea, this was their first defeat in 15 games since Thomas Tuchel arrived as manager and they are now embroiled in the battle for a top four finish after this shock defeat.
Three things we learned
1. Sluggish Chelsea implode: Thomas Tuchel’s side started slowly and even though they took the lead, he wasn’t happy with their display. Thiago Silva was sent off in the first half (he could have got a red for the first yellow he picked up) and Jorginho, Timo Werner and several others were way below par. Yes, they’ve just got back from international duty, but Tuchel’s side had conceded just two goals in 14 games before this abomination. This was a shocking Chelsea display as they made big mistakes which were ruthlessly exposed. That solid defensive unit was totally missing and the Blues fell apart when they went down to 10 men.
2. West Brom show class when it matters: Matheus Pereira scored twice, Mbaye Diagne scored once, Callum Robinson scored twice and the likes of Matt Phillips, Maitland-Niles and Yokuslu stole the show as Allardyce’s new signings all played their part. This win alone will not be enough to keep West Brom up but it will give them huge confidence going into their final eight games of the season. If they beat Southampton next Monday, they will have a real chance of saving themselves from relegation.
3. Top four wide open: Fans of Liverpool, West Ham, Tottenham, Everton and even Arsenal will be celebrating this Chelsea defeat as they hope it is the start of an implosion for the Blues. The race for the top four is well and truly wide open, as it seemed like Chelsea would cruise into the Champions League next season but a result like this can be a lot more damaging than just losing one game. Tuchel’s side have to respond positively, and they have games late on in the campaign against Man City, Leicester and Arsenal which will be tough to navigate.
Man of the Match: Matheus Pereira - His two classy finishes turned this game on its head.
Pulisic whipped in a decent cross which nobody got on the end of, while at the other end Hakim Ziyech was caught in possession and Matheus Pereira had a shot straight at Edouard Mendy.
Thiago Silva then dragged back Matheus Pereira after a poor giveaway, as he was booked, and West Brom took the game to Chelsea early on.
West Brom kept pressing high and Chelsea struggled to build out of the back, while Sam Johnstone saved well from Marcos Alonso after he was played in over the top.
Pulisic then gave Chelsea the lead. His turn away from Kyle Bartley saw him chopped down and from that free kick Marcos Alonso hit the post, but Pulisic was right there to tap home the rebound. 1-0.
Moments later Chelsea were down to 10 men as Silva inexplicably lunged into a tackle and was shown a second yellow. That forced Chelsea into a reshuffle as Andreas Christensen replaced Hakim Ziyech.
Reece James flashed a shot across goal which was so close to sneaking in, but right on half time West Brom scored twice in a wild few minutes.
One ball over the top found Pereira and he lobbed home, moments later Matt Phillips hit the crossbar with an amazing effort and then Pereira calmly slotted home a second as West Brom somehow led 2-1 at the break and had a one-man advantage.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
The second half started off just as frantic as the first ended, as Alonso’s shot was brilliantly deflected onto the post by Semi Ajayi after Sam Johnstone flapped at a cross.
Mateo Kovacic then went close with a fine effort and from the resulting corner Kurt Zouma nodded just over.
Pereira was then played in after great movement from Diagne but Mendy saved well as West Brom pushed to put the game to bed.
And they did. Darnell Furlong’s cross from the right perfectly picked out Callum Robinson and the substitute hammered home a superb volley to make it 3-1. Then West Brom went 4-1 up as Diagne finished off a wonderful flowing move.
Timo Werner set up substitute Mason Mount to make it 4-2 as a wild game had a wild finish. Zouma should have made it 4-3 but put his effort over as Chelsea poured forward.
But Robinson then scored a fine goal to make it 5-2 as West Brom rubbed further salt into Chelsea’s wounds.