WBA Baggies World
Chelsea 2-1 West Brom
By Jemma Tappenden
August 24 2011

After starting the season playing host to Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion’s second game saw them off on their travels to last season’s Premiership title runners up Chelsea.  Boss Roy Hodgson named an unchanged starting line up from the side that fell to an unlucky defeat against United, and the Baggies were boosted by the return of striker Peter Odemwinge, who took a place on the subs bench.

Wearing their new red third change Addidas kit for the first time, Albion were off to a dream start at Stamford Bridge, when Shane Long who scored Albion’s goal against Manchester United on his debut the week before,  put the Baggies a goal up within 4 minutes.  Long pounced upon a under hit pass from Bosingwa to Alex, to coolly place the ball beyond the reach of the Chelsea keeper at the near post.

West Brom were looking full of confidence, and it took Chelsea 8 minutes before they recorded a chance on goal, but Foster between the sticks for Albion was easily an equal match for Ramires flicked header from Bosingwa’s cross.  As the half neared its midway point it was Albion that looked the more confident and threatening of the two sides in the final third, and Hilario had to pull off a fine save to stop Paul Scharner’s effort after clever play from Tamas and Brunt saw him through on goal.

In the 25th minute Albion had another glorious chance to double their lead when Scharner dispossessed Lampard and found Brunt with an accurate through ball.  Shane Long raced clear to receive Brunt’s perfectly timed lopping pass, and with Somen Tchoyi unmarked in the box West Brom looked a cert for a 2 goal lead.  But Long over hit his cross, denying Tchoyi the chance of what should have been a simple tap in.

As the half entered its final stages it was Chelsea who found added confindence, but Albion looked more than comfortable soaking up the pressure, and new Chelsea boss Villas-Boas replaced Kalou with Malouda in the 35th minute to try and shake his side up.  The Blues really found their stride then in the final 10 minutes of the half, with on-loan keeper Foster being called into action during several occasions.  In the 41st minute Foster kept the Baggies lead intact when he made a superb fingertip save at the near post from Ashely Cole’s splendid 25 yard effort.  In the first minute of stoppage time Foster saved Albion again, when a 20 yard free kick from Alex took a wicked deflection.  Somehow Foster got a hand to the ball to keep his first half clean sheet intact.

Albion were fully deserving of their first time lead, a feeling echoed by the home fans as the Chelsea side made their way down the tunnel for half time refreshments to the sound of boos.

Half time: Chelsea 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

Albion started the second half with the same confidence they had developed during the first.  But in the 53rd minute Chelsea found a fortunate equaliser.  As Albion player protested over Lampard’s seemingly ‘easy’ grounding from an Olsson challenge, referee Lee Mason waved play on, allowing Anelka to slip in behind Shorey and get in a right footed shot from 15 yards, which deflected of Olsson’s heel on its way into goal.

Paul Sharner had a golden opportunity to restore Albion’s lead just two minutes later as he connected with Morrison’s cross, but he headed over the bar.  Chelsea were certainly enjoying more play in the second half than they had in the first, and Long cleared a Malouda chance from 15 yards after the Baggies had failed to deal with Lampard’s corner.

Just moments later Foster was the hero again as he blocked Anelka at point blank range, with Steven Reid keeping out Malouda’s follow up as Foster was left grounded and stranded.  The half was turning into a real end to end affair, and Tchoyi saw his superb 20 yard effort curled around the post by Hilario on 62 minutes.  Seven minutes later Anelka fired wide for Chelsea.

As the final 10 minutes of the game approached Albion never looked under much threat, and the game looked sure to be heading for a draw.  But with just seven minutes left on the clock Bosingwa got the better of both Morrison and Shorey down the right, before crossing perfectly for Malouda who made no mistake is slamming the ball home to put Chelsea 2-1 up.

Fans favourite Peter Odemwinge, making his first appearance this season as a sub, had a great chance to equalise for the Baggies in the 88th minute.  But he fired his volley straight at Hilario from 12 yards.

Full Time: Chelsea 2-1 West Bromwich Albion

Long (4)

Anelka (53)

Malouda (83)

Attendance: 41, 091