Most Albion fans will be feeling mixed emotions after an entertaining and disappointing 3-3 draw against Chelsea yesterday afternoon.
An incredible first half where the Baggies capitalised on the Blues’ defensive woes saw the hosts go into the break with a 3-0 lead. Sadly, Chelsea clawed their way back into the game through unrelenting pressure which proved too much for the Baggies’ back line.
Although it was difficult viewing watching Chelsea mount attack after attack and eventually grab an equaliser through Abraham in added time, there were still plenty of positives in West Brom’s performance – especially in the first 45 minutes.
Robinson opened the scoring in the 4th minute after Pereira slid him in from the right. The Irish international still had lots to do, getting the ball out from under his feet before firing hard and low with his left from the edge of the area past a sprawling Willy Caballero.Embed from Getty Images
The underdogs continued to press Chelsea despite their early opener and again it was Robinson who was at the heart of Albion’s second unlikely goal of the half.
Chelsea’s captain Thiago Silva got his pocket picked by Robinson, who punished the Premier League debutant by dribbling through the Chelsea half, clear on goal and slotting his effort in to the far corner.Embed from Getty Images
It was a dream start for Robinson and Bilic’s men, but Chelsea were still creating chances. Abraham spurned a good opportunity over the bar and Werner rattled the crossbar with a crisp strike with the game at 2-0.
The Baggies remained clinical as they scored their third goal of the half with their third shot on target. A well-worked corner routine saw Pereira drill the ball to an unmarked Furlong, who nodded the ball towards the back post which found Kyle Bartley who side-footed it home from six yards out.Embed from Getty Images
West Brom were in dreamland. Chelsea were stunned.
But this was a game of two halves. Lampard sent his men out with every intention of pulling back the three goal deficit – which they did.
Mason Mount started the comeback ten minutes into the second half with an effort from outside the area which left Johnstone rooted to the spot. It was a well-hit, swerving strike but it was disappointing to see Albion’s keeper unable to offer any kind of a save.Embed from Getty Images
Fifteen minutes later and the hosts conceded again. Some nice link up play between Hudson-Odoi and German starlet Havertz on the edge of West Brom’s box ended in the former burying a stylish effort that Johnstone could do nothing about.Embed from Getty Images
There were question marks over Jon Moss’ decision to not award West Brom a foul when Darnell Furlong was felled as Chelsea won the ball back and immediately grabbed a second. The Albion dugout were not impressed by Moss’ inaction.
The second Chelsea goal left the Baggies with a nervy twenty minutes to hold firm against the London giants. It took until the third of five added minutes for Chelsea to snatch a gut-wrenching equaliser.
In the dying embers of the game, Mason Mount latched on to a loose ball in the Albion box and smacked a low effort at Johnstone who could only meet it with a weak parry. The parry fell kindly for Abraham who passed the ball into an empty net.Embed from Getty Images
It was a cruel finish for Albion, who had defended well and been so ruthless in the first half. Bilic himself admitted in his post-match interview with the club’s website that he was proud of his team’s performance but he took serious issue with Chelsea’s final goal.
The loose ball that Mount picked up inside the area that led to their final goal hit Havertz’ arm after flicking his chest. On the same day as multiple handball controversies it appears as though West Brom were on the rough end of a raw deal that has cost them two massive points.
No doubt Bilic would’ve snapped Lampard’s hand off for a point at the beginning of the game, but a three goal second-half collapse certainly takes the gloss off what is still a good result for his side.
It was a phenomenal opportunity for Albion to secure three points and even though pessimists will frame the result as two points lost, a point against a Chelsea team who have spent north of £200m in this window should still be considered as a solid result.
The big challenge for Albion’s squad and staff will be rebounding from this disappointment positively for next Sunday’s clash at St. Mary’s.
Match Ratings: Johnstone (6), Furlong (7), Ajayi (8), Bartley (8), O’Shea (7), Townsend (7), Matheus Pereira (9), Livermore (7), Sawyers (7), Diangana (7), Robinson (9) Subs: Robson-Kanu (5), Phillips (5), Field (N/A)
WBA: Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, O’Shea, Townsend; Matheus Pereira (Field 90+1′), Livermore, Sawyers; Diangana (Phillips 74′), Robinson (Robson-Kanu 66′).
Chelsea: Caballero, James, Christensen, Thiago Silva (Giroud 73′), Alonso (Azpilicueta 45′), Kanté, Kovacic (Hudson-Odoi 45)’, Mount, Havertz, Werner, Abraham.