How it Happened
Chelsea started sloppily from the get-go with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic sending risky passes in dangerous areas but West Brom failed to capitalize on their bad play. Thomas Tuchel always sets up his side for short passes no matter the conditions and his players were obliging even under duress. That style of play plays into the grubby hands of Sam Allardyce who sets his side to pounce and be as direct as possible. Matheus Pereira was causing all sorts of problems for the blues with tricky play. His fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva received a yellow card for pulling him down in the 5th minute. It stemmed from a Jorginho misplaced pass. Pereira’s torrid time at the West Midlands club is well documented but he shook it off against Chelsea.
Chelsea started to get into the game with better combinations but the odd daft ball was still a few passes away. There was a great sequence of play wherein Timo Werner slipped a delicious pass for Hakim Ziyech but the Moroccan’s pass was too far for Christian Pulisic. Ziyech who was on 2 goals in 2 before the international break was looking dangerous and a trademark cross for Marcos Alonso was well defended by West Brom. David Coote did not also give a good performance with the whistle Timo Werner went down with a stamp in the box but nothing was given.
Dara O’Shea took a stamp to the foot from a fellow West Brom player and on came Chelsea cult hero Branislav Ivanovic to complete the 3 at the back. A few minutes later and Chelsea got a free-kick. Marcos Alonso hit the bar before Christian Pulisic followed to put it in. 1-0 Chelsea led.
Jorginho again put Chelsea in trouble with a back pass and Silva went to the ground for a block. The follow-through on Okay Yokuslu was deemed a foul despite no malicious intention or the possibility of readjusting. Coote sent Silva off in the 29th minute. Another Thiago Silva blunder against West Brom and his first red card since May 2013. Ziyech was off for Andreas Christensen who should have started this game based on his recent form. Kovacic sent Werner through and Ivanovic was stretching his worn and torn legs to keep up with the German. He defended brilliantly but his leg gave up on him after the duel and on came Callum Robinson.
England international Reece James got 2 chances to score but could not convert. From out of nothing West Brom got their equalizer. Chelsea tried to counter from a corner kick but keeper Sam Johnstone dashed to clear and the long ball caught the Chelsea backline and Edouard Mendy off guard and he chipped in a delightful goal 1-1. It was 1-2 in a matter of minutes. Another Jorginho error. James inexplicably lofted a ball backward and Jorginho headed it backward again. Pereira capitalized, dragged the Chelsea defense all over before slotting at the near post. 1-2 before half-time. Proper Sam Allardyce ting. The gum-chewing gaffer looked pleased.
Mason Mount came in for Christian Pulisic who got injured as he stepped out onto the pitch for the second half. If you thought the lead and the man advantage would push West Brom then think again. West Brom sat back and it was indeed a smart game plan as Chelsea played themselves into trouble while they countered ruthlessly. Semi Ajayi denied Alonso a goal with a smart block. It looked like a sure goal before the Nigerian intervened.
The prodding Mount hit a free-kick into the side netting as Chelsea tried to get back into the game. Kovacic showed lovely touch then set up a shot that went wide on 58. The resulting corner is smashed over by Kurt Zouma. Perreira found some space behind a retreating defense but Edouard Mendy saved his shot only for West Brom to score a minute later. 1-3. It was a terrific team effort that Callum Robinson finished on the volley.
Kovacic was playing like a man possessed. Positively and negatively. He was driving the ball forward aggressively but taking too many touches and giving the ball away too. It was in one of those cases that he got a yellow card before screaming “worst ref ever” in frustration. Mbaye Diagne slotted a fourth after some more brilliant play from the baggies. 1-4. Mount forced a save from Johnstone before Timo Werner gave him an open goal to poke into. A crazy game to behold and one of the best the season has offered. Kai Havertz came on for Jorginho after one of the worst performances you’ll ever see. Werner got a good flick-on from a corner but Zouma missed a sitter by shooting with his left on 75.
Kovacic slipped Werner through but Werner couldn’t gather to take it in on 79. Jake Livermore on for Matt Phillips (that is English Premier League heritage right there). Robinson scored a second goal to make it 2-5. His 5 English Premier League goals have all come against Chelsea.
A brilliant result for West Brom and a puzzling performance from Chelsea. This is the first time Chelsea have conceded 5 at home since that 5-3 loss to Arsenal in 2011 and to a West Brom side that had not scored in 3 games.