Andre Villas-Boas starts life at home with all three points in the bag, but it was certainly not without a fight from West Brom. Having lost last week, West Brom were desperate to get off the mark this season in what was the hardest start of any of the clubs. Looking to go quickly, they scored after just 4 minutes, Shane Long capitalising on an uncharacteristic mistake by Alex and John Terry where they allowed the striker to go through the huge gap between them. Disaster start, and the atmosphere soon turned to one of early doubt and anxiety. West Brom press continuously in the first half, but with the exception of a penalty shout, Chelssa had little shout for a goal. Roll on to the 35-minute mark, Andre Villas-Boas signalling his intent to attack and his disappointment at the performance of Kalou, to be replaced by Malouda with a formation change. Brave move to substitute someone so humiliatingly before half-time (especially being just the one down), but Andre already shows to his squad he has little mercy.
Change of formation brought new life to the match. Chelsea seemed more alert and made a quick start in thr second half with Lampard denied his second penalty shout in as many matches. The ball fell kindly to Anelka, and with a deflection, the ball kindly found the back of the net. Huge relief, and you could see it in Andre’s touchline antics. Then it was all Chelseas. Full of the belief that evaded them after conceding the early goal, they pushed for the winner, which came in the 83rd minute from Malouda, courtesy of some lovely work from Bosingwa. First home match won, but Chelsea will no doubt not settle for an unconvincing win, with Chslsea well below their best.
Chelsea in fairness played well against a capable West Brom side whose organisation frustrated Chelsea. Chelsea lacked the width, relying heavily on Ashley Cole to go forward, who had a very good game. But with Ashley Cole defender by trade, it is no wonder Chelsea are rumoured to have signed Juan Mata from Valencia, a left sided winger. Chelsea also lacked creativity at times, but with Mata and Modric on the cards, Chelsea clearly recognise this too and are strengthening. Old faces are still seen, but new blood are arriving too, suggesting Villas-Boas’ vision for the future.
A promising start at home for the new man, but one old Chelsea trait still remains: the ability to win when not at your best.