Chelsea FC v West Bromwich Albion –
Final Score/Result: Chelsea 2-2 West Brom
Man Of The Match: Eden Hazard
Chelsea FC drop points against West Bromwich Albion at home as Eden Hazard scores from a penalty to salvage a draw.
Chelsea came into this game five points behind Arsenal after suffering a defeat at the hands of Newcastle United last weekend. But this game also provided them with an opportunity to close the gap at the top as Arsenal and Manchester United face each other at Old Trafford. But Mourinho’s men failed to capitalize on that and once again dropped points as West Bromwich Albion put up a wonderful fight at Stamford Bridge.
The first half was fairly even, although Chelsea dominated possession from the outset, but failed to create too many clear cut openings. But right at the end of the first half Samuel Eto’o showed his predatory instincts and quick thinking once again to provide the home side with the lead. Eden Hazard drifted in from the left and his shot was parried away by Myhill. The ball fell to Liam Ridgewell in the box and the left-back pondered too long instead of putting his foot through it. This provided Eto’o enough time to snatch it and put the ball in the back of the net. Ridgewell will have nightmares about that moment.
West Brom came out with a lot more intent in the second half and took the game to Chelsea. Shane Long, who looked dangerous in that spell, scored the equalizer for the away with a header from close range. The opportunity arrived from a corner as Petr Cech somehow managed to block McAuley’s thunderous header, Shane Long managed to rise above everyone else in a melee and headed the loose ball into the goal from close range.
Just eight minutes later West Brom managed to grab the lead as Stephane Sessegnon scored for the away side. Chelsea looked vulnerable at the back once again as West Brom won back the ball in the midfield, they were left short in numbers at the back during that quick break. Liam Ridgewell was involved in that attack down the left and he found Sessegnon in space at the edge of the penalty box. The 29-year-old midfielder took a shot with his left foot and scored past Petr Cech. But the Chelsea goalkeeper will have to take the blame for conceding from that shot, which should have been saved.
The second goal bought Chelsea back to life and they began to push hard for an equaliser. But West Brom defended wonderfully and made it hard for the home side to enjoy any sniff at goal. McAuley and Olsson managed to win everything in the air as Steve Clarke’s side seemed headed for a memorable win. But in the injury time Ramires went down inside the box after contact with Steven Reid and referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot. Replay showed that it was a soft penalty and West Brom are right to feel aggrieved as Eden Hazard scored from the spot to equalize for Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho though defended the decision and believed that the referee made the right call. But he insisted that Andre Marriner committed a lot of mistakes in the game.
“I have watched it two or three times and it was a clear penalty.
“The referee made many mistakes during the game but that was not a mistake.
“It is always a difficult situation to accept for the team that is winning, but when they go home they will see on their screens that it was a situation where the referee did not make a mistake.” – The Chelsea manager said.
In fact Mourinho suggested that the referee denied Chelsea a clear free-kick in the build-up to West Brom’s second goal.
“It should have been a clear free-kick against West Brom when they scored the second goal.
“So I have reason to be very upset with the referee’s work. I believe he is a great referee, one of the best in European football, but he had a very unhappy game today.
“It was dramatic because the home team was losing and in the last 15 minutes our reaction was very strong.
“We put everything into the game to try to score and at least not to lose. In the end, it was even more emotional than technical and tactical.” – Mourinho added.
Steve Clarke wasn’t too pleased with the officiating either and felt that the referee was influenced by the home support. The former Chelsea assistant manager expressed his frustration at being robbed of what would have been a memorable win.
“The boy went into the box, he went down looking for it and the referee obliged him.
“The atmosphere at the bigger stadiums when you go away from home can influence decisions, but I think the decision today was particularly galling.
“It is ridiculous to have to take it because it wasn’t a penalty. That’s five points my team have lost because of late decisions on penalties.
“I’m sad and I’m angry but I’m also very proud because we were magnificent today.
“This is a difficult place to come. Chelsea are one of the teams that are going to fight for the title. We suffered a disappointment losing the goal before half-time and in the second half we were really good and deserved all three points.” – The West Brom manager told the press.
Chelsea v West Brom – Statistics
Eden Hazard produced a good performance for Chelsea in this game. The Belgium international hasn’t been at his best so far this season, but he is seemingly getting into his strides with every passing game. Hazard created the first goal with his direct running and shot that fell kindly for Eto’o. He also stepped up to take the crucial penalty right at the ended and scored past Myhill to save a point for his side. That was Hazard’s fourth goal in the league this season and Chelsea fans will be hoping for many more. The above heat-map depicts his movement and positioning on the pitch.