A late header from Victor Anichebe cancelled out Branislav Ivanovic’s first-half opener and denied us the chance to extend our lead at the top to four points.
Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw away at West Brom as we only come out with a point from one of the most unpleasant stadiums to visit in England. The Hawthorns was filled with bitter and unprofessional supporters who were constantly booing and making noises when Ramires touched the ball. And the wet and not so well surface of the field didn’t help the proceedings. Ivanovic’s opener right before half time was cancelled out with Anichebe’s header in the closing stages to deny the premier league leaders to extend their lead.
West Brom (4-3-3): Foster, Reid, McAuley, Dawson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Yacob (Mulumbu 63′), Brunt, Amalfitano (Anichebe 73′), Thievy (Vydra 78′), Berahino.
Chelsea FC (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Matic, Ramires (Salah 89′); Hazard, Oscar (Mikel 79′), Willian; Eto’o (Torres 69′)
The match kicked off with West brom starting the match. The home team looked to danger the opposition with long balls to the back line but, Cahill and Luiz were in hand to block off every potential threats in the opening minutes. The Blues were having possessions of the ball but, didn’t have enough space to exploit West Brom’s weaknesses at the back.
The home team trained by Pepe Mel have been strongly organized and didn’t allow Chelsea to get in behind the box. The movements of Willian in the first half were also brilliant even though Hazard and Oscar were quitter through out the whole game as opposed to the way they perform at their finest games.
Early chance fell to Ivanovic as he made a forward run into the box and Eto’o nearly found him as he sent in a low cross in towards the defenders to be cleared out.
The corners were coming time and time again as finally the last corner before the half whistle was taken well by the Blues. The cross was met in the near post by Luiz who flicked the ball to the far side for Ivanovic to get a tap in.
Just like in the reverse fixture this season, it was in time added on at the end of a half that we had found the net.
That sent a huge relief for Jose Mourinho’s team and the fans watching every where not hoping for a repeat of the West ham draw in the last mid week fixture in EPL.
After the break, Mourinho didn’t make changes to the line-up that mostly started the previous game against Newcastle 3 days earlier except for Ramires replacing Lampard. West Brom started to attack by going forward in numbers trying to rescue the game.
Chelsea pressured the opposition but, we seemed to struggle at the Hawthorns as our past statics reveal against this opposition in the past two seasons. Injury forced the first substitution of the game for West Brom but, Chelsea’s substitution didn’t come until the 69 minutes when Torres came on for Eto’o to make his 100th premier league appearance for the Blues.
His involvements weren’t as good as Eto’o as he didn’t manage to combine really well with our attacking midfielders behind him. The game started to turn on its head after Victor Anichebe came in to replace Amalfitano who was booked. The striker attempted a lot of headers and his physicality was not welcomed well by the Chelsea defense that started to show a crack with the captain John Terry missing for the 2nd game running.
Moments later, Luiz was booked for a foul that earned them a free-kick. It was not taken well but, in the 87th minute, a cross from the left hand side found Anichebe in the box who headed for the equalizer on Cech’s net. Petr Cech hesitated to come out or stay in goal as he was left stunned by the header.
Chelsea then brought in Mohamed Salah as a late substitution for Ramires instead of Lampard with a decision taken after the equalizer. The Egyptian tried to threaten the back line more than couple of times but, didn’t manage to find an inspirational moment for the win. The game ended with a scramble and arguing between the players as it was during the reverse controversial fixture at Stamford Bridge.
We now are clear two points ahead of Arsenal who play Manchester United at home and 3 points over Manchester City who are at home also against Sunderland tomorrow. Let’s wish the best of outcomes tomorrow in both games and KTBFFH! Twitter (@FahmiCFC)