Once again Diego Costa turned out to be the salvager at Stamford Bridge once again as Chelsea managed to see off a resilient West Brom to manage their ninth straight Premier League triumph.
The first-half saw Chelsea failing to break down Brom resistance as the Blues didn’t show enough creativity in the final third. David Luiz’s free-kick was the solitary shot on target for Chelsea in the first half. West Brom was close to break the deadlock twice. At first the Chris Brunt shot hurled wide off the post, followed by the Solomon Rondon effort that rolled down across the face of the goal. N’Golo Kante tried to do a Spurs as he tried a long-ranger.
In the second half, the introduction of Cesc Fabregas turned the fortune for Chelsea, in front of the towering presences at the illustrious visitors, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo. His brilliant long ball, Brom defender Gareth McAuley’s howler and Costa’s brilliant solo finish at 76th minute enabled Chelsea to eke out the scrappy win.
Chelsea saw the more of the ball with 67% possession. This victory took Chelsea six points clear off the closest rivals Arsenal.
Player Ratings: Chelsea
Courtois: (Rating 6/10)
Courtois has now kept 8 clean sheets this season, more than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League. He was barely tested, his distribution was good though.
Azpilicueta: (Rating 8/10)
Outstanding. To put his game in numbers: 3 tackles won, 2 interceptions, 65 passes completed,7 clearances,4 aerial duels. Sheer class.
David Luiz: (Rating 5.5/10)
Luiz’s free-kicks were forgettable. He made fatal defensive errors in the first half. Rondon got the better of the Brazilian in the first half. Had Rondon’s strike not rolled down inches wide of the goal, there could have been trouble. Came back better in the second half as he robbed Rondon from launching potential goal threat.
Cahill (c): (Rating 8/10)
Brilliant defending, crucial interceptions. Saved two certain goals from last-grasp tackles. When West Brom pressed forward, headed away dangers at times.
Moses: (Rating 7/10)
Well disciplined, decent in both attacking and defending. Ventured into back tracking to deny Nyom a goal, which was probably on the cards. Made decent runs and brought others into play.
Kante: (Rating 7/10)
Was booked. His match stats read: 81 Passes, 87% Pass completion, 2 Tackles, 2 Interceptions, 3 Clearances and 8 Ball recoveries. Cleared away dangers with feet and head. His effort from the distance rolled wide. Made a great tackle on Nyom.
Matic: (Rating 7/10)
Was booked. He completed 79 passes vs. West Brom, more than any other player so far this weekend. Gave good balls to team-mates, especially his ball to Moses was a gem but lacked creativity for the deep block that Chelsea play. His passing radius was too narrow, his effort to the goal fizzed wide.
Alonso: (Rating 5/10)
Was poor in the first half, improved in the second.
Pedro: (Rating 6/10)
As West Brom marked him out, was largely ineffective but there was no lack of endeavour. Won free-kicks at promising spot. Put up a looping cross from which Costa should have scored.
Hazard: (Rating 7/10)
Hazard’s game by numbers: 84% pass accuracy, 67 touches, 38 passes, 7 dribbles and 2 fouls won. Played as second striker in the later stages at second half.
Diego Costa: (Rating 8.5/10)
Man of the match. Brilliant finish from the left. Robbed McAuley off possession and put past Foster. Impeccable work-rate, his sliding tackle to deliver the ball to Kante speaks volumes of his will. Costa this season in the league, 15 Games – 12 Goals and 5 Assists
Conte goes nuts after Costa goal. Love him. pic.twitter.com/XKtu95kY4G
— T?? (@HazardFlicks) December 11, 2016
Diego Costa's goal! pic.twitter.com/JpwHJU2sxG
— ChelseaUK (@CheIseaUK) December 11, 2016
Unlocked Diego Costa with his match winning assist within two minutes of coming to the pitch. The golden partnership of Fabregas-Costa seems to be back after the hollywood, one-route long ball assist. Added creativity.
Decent cameo, perfect for counter-attack. His effort on the goal drilled wide.
Photo by domfell