Newly promoted West Brom were swept away by a torrent of goals on a rainy day at Stamford Bridge. An inspirational performance from Florent Malouda and a hatrick from Didier Drogba convincingly provided a not so friendly welcome back to the Premiership for the Albion.
The signs did not look good for West Brom when they went just 6 minutes before conceding after Scott Carson split a relatively tame Didier Drogba free kick which was then tapped in by Malouda, but they managed to follow up an early setback with a good spell of possession and pressure.
However West Brom were unable to convert this period of pressure into any clear goal scoring chances and in the 22nd minute they were nearly punished against the run of play by a Malouda shot that scraped across the face of goal. Malouda continued to look dangerous throughout the first half linking up well with Ashley Cole who looked solid along with the rest of the Chelsea defence which were able to soak up any potential threats West Brom posed throughout the first half.
After having a quite a quiet first half, out of the blue Didier Drogba managed to find a hole in the West Brom wall with one of his trademark freekicks from the edge of the box, ending the first half on a high note for Chelsea sending them into the tunnel 2-0 up.
West Brom were the first to have a chance in the second half when Dorran’s deflected effort left Cech rooted to the spot, but sailed on just past the post. Malouda continued to look dangerous in the second half and in the 55th minute Drogba scrambled in a scrappy goal after a corner taken by Malouda. The corner was initially headed at goal by John Terry and saved by Carson, but then fell kindly for Drogba.
By the 60th minute Chelsea really started to dominate possession and were able to pass it through the entire West Brom team and gave Frank Lampard and easy chance on the edge of the six yard box which he coolly finished. Three minutes after scoring Lampard was substituted for new signing Benayoun, for which he couldn’t complain as he had featured little in the game up until his goal. Benayoun’s introduction was greeted by a wide grin from Roman Abromovich in the stands.
By this point in the match it was pretty much job done for Chelsea and they were able to pass the ball around without too much interference from the West Brom team and Roberto Di Matteo looked suitably deflated on the touchline.
In the 67th minute Drogba completed his hatrick via an unfortunate deflection that left Scott Carson with no chance of making a save. West Brom had a few late chances but nothing to cause Cech too much trouble and in the 90th minute Malouda completed the rout thanks to a magnificent through ball over the top of the Baggies defence from Nicolas Anelka.
At the end of the game Chelsea took their familiar place at the top of the league after dismantling West Brom 6-0, whilst Albion fans were left wondering if it could be Championship ahoy once again for them at the end of this season.
Here is a delightful cartoon that nicely sums up the result: http://twitpic.com/2er2tn
Chelsea: Cech 6, Cole 7, Ferreira 6 (Ivanovic 60th min), Terry 7, Alex 6, Essien 6, Lampard 6 (Benayoun 64th min), Mikel 6, Malouda 8, Anelka 6, Drogba 7 (Kalou 70th min).
West Brom: Carson 4, Cech 5, Pablo 5, Tamas 5, Jara 5, Morrison 6, Brunt 6, Thomas 6(Barnes 84th min), Dorrans 6 (Cox 67th min) Mulumbu 5, Bednar 5 (Miller 67th min).
Man of the Match: Florent Malouda
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