Match Analysis: West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Chelsea

Shane Long scores the opener for West Brom on November 17, 2012
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes a closer look at West Brom's 2-1 win over Chelsea - a result which moves the Baggies up to fourth in the table and within a point of their opponents.

West Bromwich Albion climbed into the Premier League top four with a 2-1 win over Chelsea as Steve Clarke claimed the scalp of his former Blues teammate Roberto Di Matteo this afternoon.

Goals from Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie cancelled out Eden Hazard's equaliser as the Baggies moved to within a point of the European champions.

Sports Mole analyses whether West Brom's sixth home win of the season was reflective of the action at the Hawthorns.

Match statistics:

West Brom:
Shots: 8
On target: 6
Possession: 46%
Corners: 0
Fouls: 7

Chelsea:
Shots: 19
On target: 12
Possession: 54%
Corners: 12
Fouls: 13

Was the result fair?

Probably not. West Brom will deservedly get a lot of credit for this result, but could not have argued had Chelsea left with a share of the spoils. The hosts enjoyed much the better of the opening half-hour, but after Hazard cancelled out Long's header, Chelsea started to control the ball. Albion continued to threaten on the counter in the second period, as proven by Odemwingie's winning goal, but Chelsea were camped in the Baggies half and had enough of the game to warrant a point.

West Brom's performance

Albion's position in the table is no fluke - they are a proper side under Clarke. The superb Long was a handful for Chelsea's central defensive pairing and Odemwingie and Morrison provided creative support. The latter in particular was rarely wasteful on the ball. Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob were both tidy and industrious in midfield, while Boaz Myhill produced a number of good saves to ensure that the Baggies hung on in the latter stages.

Chelsea's performance

Before the introduction of Juan Mata and Oscar, the Blues were pretty ineffective in attack and seldom created anything for Fernando Torres. Mata was the difference as Chelsea began to look their usual selves in the final half-hour, but when he and Oscar supplied Daniel Sturridge, the England international could not find the net on his first Premier League start of the season. In defence, they were undone too easily by two crosses for the WBA goals, with David Luiz and Ryan Bertrand culpable for losing their men.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Shane Long. Gary Cahill might have been hoping for an easy afternoon after being the victim of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's brilliance in midweek, but Long tested him as much as the Swede did at the Hawthorns this afternoon. As good with his back to goal as he is when running at it, Long was strong when holding up the ball and dangerously quick and agile when providing the focal point to West Brom's counter-attacking play. Picked up a goal and an assist for his superb efforts which demonstrated perfectly how to play the lone striker role.

Biggest gaffe of the game

Daniel Sturridge was lively when playing through the centre, but wasteful when presented with goalscoring opportunities. After being found by Oscar's delightful 87th-minute flick, Sturridge drove Chelsea's best equalising chance wide of the post with Mata unmarked for a simple tap-in at the back post.

Referee's performance

Very little to say here. Michael Oliver rightly refused a penalty shout when Victor Moses went down after colliding with Yacob, but apart from that, he was rarely called upon for anything of importance.

What next?

West Brom: A trip to goal-shy Sunderland next weekend. If West Brom can start picking up regular points on the road to go along with their brilliant home form, they may take some shifting from their top-four berth.

Chelsea: A massive week for the Blues. Firstly, they face Juventus in a clash that could decide their Champions League fate before Man City visit Stamford Bridge in a crucial encounter between two of the Premier League title chasers.

Shane Long scores the opener for West Brom on November 17, 2012
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