Chelsea extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches but it will count as two points dropped as Victor Anichebe’s late header denied the Blues the opportunity to extend their lead at the top to four points.
It looked like Branislav Ivanovic’s opener just before the half-time interval would be enough to bring all three points back to London, but West Brom, who have beaten Chelsea in the last two matches at The Hawthorns and subsequently sealed the fate of two Chelsea managers, once again came up with a surprise. It will come as a huge dent to Chelsea’s title charge, as first could become third tomorrow night should both Manchester City and Arsenal win their matches.
But it ought not to have been so close. Eto’o fed Ivanovic in the first half but the ball was sadly just behind the Brazilian for him to make any meaningful contact. Willian, meanwhile, had a few opportunities himself in the second half, driving straight at Ben Foster however. Eden Hazard, on the back of his Newcastle hat-trick, found himself clean through but slow play the the awkward bounce of the ball put pay to any threat.
And so came the West Brom surge. Mikel had come on for Oscar as Chelsea turned defensive, but with Cahill sporting an injury, West Brom exploited the defensive frailties, crossing the ball past Cahill and Anichebe leapt above David Luiz to secure the Baggies a precious, and just, point.
Man of the Match
WILLIAN: The Brazilian was Chelsea’s most creative spark in a very dull affair, combining effectively with his team-mates as well as having some shots which tested Ben Foster. It was Willian’s corner which led to Ivanovic’s goal and the 25-year-old is settling nicely into Chelsea’s first team. Hazard looked a little tired, so too Oscar, but Willian’s creativity perhaps caused West Brom most problems out of all in the Chelsea side. 7/10
Mourinho was disappointed Chelsea could not kill the game: “For 60 minutes there was only one team in the game but that team couldn’t kill the game. For the last 20 minutes there was only one team in the game, and that team fought a lot to get the goal and the point. In the end they deserved it because of their effort.”
Pepe Mel was happy with his side’s performance: “I’m proud of my players. There were two different halves. We defended well in the first half, Chelsea only had two chances. In the second half we were good in defence and attack. Chelsea are a good team but if we had scored before we did I’m sure we would have won the match.”