MX23RW : Thursday, October 18 03:41:05
Feb 12, 2018 at 8pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 41,071
West BromWest Bromwich Albion
Hazard (25', 71'), Moses (63')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Evans (45'), Gibbs (49')

Live Commentary: Chelsea 3-0 West Bromwich Albion - as it happened

Live Commentary: Chelsea 3-0 West Bromwich Albion - as it happened
© Offside
Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Chelsea's 3-0 triumph over West Bromwich Albion, as the champions returned to winning ways in the top flight.

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea saw off West Bromwich Albion 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening to move up to fourth place in the Premier League.

The Belgium international opened the scoring after exchanging passes with Olivier Giroud, before Victor Moses added a second in similar circumstances.

After a positive performance from Albion that showed little reward, Hazard killed off the contest by converting from just outside the box 19 minutes from time.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

7.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge. The defending champions are stuck on three wins from 10 in 2018, most recently suffering three-goals defeats to Bournemouth and Watford in the top flight, and head into this match sitting in fifth place in the division.

7.02pmThis is a truly pivotal week for Chelsea, as they have three home games in three different competitions that can shape the remainder of their season. Three points today is a must if under-fire boss Antonio Conte is to end speculation over his future heading into those other games against Hull City and Barcelona, and up against the division's bottom-placed side you have to fancy the Blues to return to winning ways.


STARTING XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Zappacosta; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard

SUBS: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Emerson, Drinkwater, Willian, Morata

7.06pmStarting with a look at the home team, the big news is that Conte has gone with Olivier Giroud up top for his first Chelsea start. The Frenchman, who joined from Arsenal on transfer deadline day, made minimal impact from the bench against Watford but is required through the middle this evening. That is despite Alvaro Morata recovering from a troublesome back problem that threatened to ruin his maiden campaign in English football.

7.08pmMorata will instead start the game on the bench, with Conte clearly not wanting to take any risks ahead of the huge match with Barcelona in eight days' time. Giroud will be flanked by Pedro and Eden Hazard this evening, while Cesc Fabregas returns to the side in central midfield due to the suspension of Tiemoue Bakayoko. There is also a return to the XI for Andreas Christensen, having been subbed off in the recent defeat to Bournemouth.

7.10pmMarcos Alonso was widely expected to return to the fold tonight but is still suffering from injury, so Davide Zappacosta - and not January recruit Emerson Palmieri - starts at left wing-back. On the other flank is Victor Moses, who will be tasked with providing support for forward trio Pedro, Giroud and Hazard. It is also a big night for the returning Fabregas; stuck on 49 Premier League goals and without one in 10 previous meetings with Albion.


STARTING XI: Foster; Gibbs, Evans, Hegazi, Dawson; Brunt, Barry, Krychowiak, Phillips; Sturridge, Rondon

SUBS: Myhill, Nyom, Yacob, McClean, Burke, Rodriguez, McAuley

7.14pmWest Brom boss Alan Pardew has been boosted by the return to fitness of three key players for this evening's clash. Jonny Evans comes back into the back four after sitting out the defeats to Manchester City and Southampton - Albion conceding three goals in both of those - while Kieran Gibbs slots in at left-back and Grzegorz Krychowiak returns in a four-man midfield.

7.16pmThose are the only three changes made to the side that went down 3-2 at home to Southampton a little over a week ago; Gareth McAuley, Allan Nyom and Claudio Yacob all making way. The Baggies' starting lineup certainly looks a little stronger now that Evans and Krychowiak are back, but this is still a side that looks destined to be playing Championship football next season unless they can seriously turn things around.

7.18pmLiverpool loanee Daniel Sturridge, who may still feel that he has a point to prove at former club Chelsea, does provide a bit of quality up top for the visitors. The England international is under a bit of pressure to start scoring goals, and he will be joined up top this evening by Salomon Rondon. Jay Rodriguez has to settle for a place among the substitutes, but we can expect to see the former Southampton striker should Albion be chasing a goal.

7.20pmOlivier Giroud makes his first Chelsea start this evening since being brought in from Arsenal on deadline day last month. The Frenchman is preferred to Alvaro Morata, who is back among the subs following a spell on the sidelines, while at the back Andreas Christensen takes over from skipper Gary Cahill. Antonio Rudiger also has a spot in the back four, with David Luiz dropping out of the 18-man squad altogether.

Olivier Giroud in action for Chelsea on February 5, 2018© Offside

7.22pmChelsea head into this match sitting fifth in the Premier League standings, two points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur and four off Liverpool. The Blues have had a disastrous start to 2018, winning just three of 10 matches in all competitions - one of those coming against second-tier side Norwich City on penalties. An EFL Cup exit during that run, coming at the hands of London rivals Arsenal, certainly has not helped Conte's cause.

7.24pmExiting the EFL Cup and dropping out of the Premier League's top four is a bad combo to say the least, especially at a time when Conte has reportedly fallen out with his superiors over a perceived lack of support when it comes to transfer dealings. The Italian did admit at his pre-match press conference that he has struggled to persuade Blues bosses to bring in certain players, thought to be in direct reference to Alex Sandro and Edin Dzeko.

7.26pmSpecifically in the Premier League, Chelsea have drawn to Arsenal and Liverpool, defeated Brighton & Hove Albion and slipped to defeats at the hands of Bournemouth and Watford this calendar year. It is a poor run for any top side, particularly when carrying the tag of defending champions. Retaining their title is now well out of the question, though finishing in the top four could also be a real battle at this rate.

7.28pmThe 3-0 loss to Bournemouth was bad; losing 4-1 at Watford, with three of those goals coming in the final eight minutes, was even worse due to the nature of the display. Not many would have been surprised had the axe come down on Conte seven days ago, but the upcoming Champions League double-header with Barcelona may well have kept him in the job - the Blues will not fancy seeking a new manager with such a huge game on the horizon. That is what makes this week so vital for the Italian.

7.30pmFollowing the three-successive home games against West Brom (Premier League), Hull City (FA Cup) and Barcelona (Champions League), the Blues face a quick-fire double-header against Manchester United and Manchester City away from home. Drop yet more points today, then, and Chelsea will remain fifth in the table ahead of those extremely tough matches - the two toughest matches they will play all season on paper, in fact.

7.32pmYet should they get back to winning ways tonight, the Blues will find themselves fourth in the table and just three points adrift of Man United in second, setting up what should be a real classic at Old Trafford in a couple of weeks' time. Chelsea have already lost six games so far this season, though, which is already one more than in the entire of 2016-17 when storming to the title with a record number of victories.

7.34pmChelsea are aiming to avoid losing back-to-back home games in the Premier League for the first time since November 2011. Prior to last week, meanwhile, the Blues had not gone down by three goals in successive matches since October 1995. To throw in another stat for good measure, under-fire boss Conte last lost three-consecutive league matches in November 2009 when he was in charge of Atalanta.

7.36pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! Chelsea have lost one of their last 10 Premier League meetings with West Bromwich Albion, with three draws during that run. The Baggies are winless in 13 top-flight trips to Stamford Bridge since coming out on top 3-1 in September 1978, when a certain Cyrille Regis was on target, though they did triumph here more recently in an 1983-84 EFL Cup tie.

7.38pmThe pressure has been growing on Antonio Conte pretty much from the opening game of the season when going down 3-2 at home to Burnley. Chelsea have had 11 different managers since 2004 - permanent or otherwise - and two of those have been sacked following a league games against West Bromwich Albion. Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo were both given the boot in 2012 within six months of each other.

Antonio Conte watches on during Chelsea's 4-1 defeat at Watford on February 6, 2018© Offside

7.40pmChelsea have not lost three games in a row in a single season since October 2002 when Claudio Ranieri was at the helm. To continue with the negative stats that could be broken tonight - and there are a fair few of them - the Blues are aiming to avoid equalling a 25-year record of failing to score in three-successive home matches. Again, though, despite their recent woes, this is a match that the home side are strong favourites to win.

7.42pmThat is because Albion head into the match sitting at the very foot of the table, seven points adrift of safety. Weekend results did not exactly go their way, either, as West Ham United, Newcastle United, Swansea City and Huddersfield Town all picked up huge victories, while Stoke City and Brighton & Hove Albion also managed to put a point on the board. The Baggies are now starting to look seriously doomed.

7.44pmWest Brom started the season very well, collecting seven points from the first nine on offer, but they have since picked up a single win in 24 matches. That solitary victory at home to Brighton a move ago tomorrow provided hope that they could push up the table, but the three-point hauls have well and truly dried up it now seems a certainty that WBA will be playing football in the second tier once again next term.

7.46pmSwansea themselves looked dead and buried not so long ago, however, and all of a sudden they have put together a positive run of results and are now outside the bottom three. The Swans managed to pick up shock wins against Liverpool and Arsenal to propel their push for safety; something West Brom have to attempt to replicate with this trip to the English capital. Three points here, or even a point, and who knows what is possible.

7.48pmPardew intends to take his players to Barcelona for a mini break after this game, before the FA Cup last-16 tie against Southampton next weekend. Then come games against Huddersfield Town and Watford in what is the start of a nice run of fixtures over the next month or so. Pardew needs to seem a massive improvement from his players heading into those matches, as time is now fast ticking down on their battle to beat the drop.

7.50pmDID YOU KNOW? Albion have just three wins to their name all season, giving them the worst record of any side in England's top four tiers, and they currently have 20 points fewer than at this same stage last season. Tony Pulis was the man in charge then, of course, and it is worth mentioning that West Brom earned two points more in the Welshman's final 12 matches in charge compared to Pardew's first 12 matches.

7.52pmPardew's men have lost 18 points from winning positions this season - the worst record in the division - and now need a couple of wins on the spin just to remain in touch with the sides above them. As Swansea have shown in recent weeks, however, it is possible to drag yourself from the foot of the table and to relative safety at a time when many doubt you. Now is the time for the experienced players in Albion's ranks - and there are plenty of them - to stand up and be counted.

7.54pmWith kickoff at Stamford Bridge now a little over five minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Antonio Conte: "We have to try to stop this bad run and get three points against West Brom. It won't be easy, the confidence is not high but we have to trust in our work and football. I am not thinking for only one moment the possibility of going away from this club. My commitment and the players are totally for this club."

Alan Pardew: "We are obviously under pressure because we are bottom of the league. I think you are going to see a lot of fight on the pitch in terms of two teams desperate to get points and turn a little bit of a corner for Chelsea and us to get a result that might be the boost that we need. I know Chelsea very well."

7.56pmConte acknowledging that Chelsea's poor run of form cannot continue any longer, particularly having seen his side slip out of the top four at the weekend. As bad as things look for the Blues right now, they could be three points off second place come full time tonight, while also having games in the last 16 of the FA Cup and Champions League to look forward to. This really is make or break time for the champions.

7.58pmPardew, who has collected eight points from his first 12 games at the helm, says that he knows tonight's opponents "very well". The Englishman is seeking to become the first manager in the Premier League era to win at Stamford Bridge with three different clubs, though as mentioned a little earlier you have to go way back to 1983 to find the last time Albion won here in any competition.

Baggies manager Alan Pardew watches on during the Premier League game between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United on December 17, 2017© Offside

1 minKICKOFF! Olivier Giroud gets us up and running on his first start as a Chelsea player. Both teams in desperate need of victory this evening, setting us up for what should be an entertaining contest under the Stamford Bridge lights.

3 minWest Brom win a corner and commit bodies forward, but it comes to nothing. Jonny Evans has just signalled to the bench to let them know that someone is unable to continue, and that unlucky player appears to be striker Daniel Sturridge.

5 minWEST BROMWICH ALBION SUB! Daniel Sturridge is indeed the player to make way early in the game, unable to continue after a coming together with Azpilicueta. Jay Rodriguez is introduced to partner Rondon up top.

7 minCLOSE! Rondon powers Philipps's cross wide - superb fizzed delivery from the right-hand side from the wing-back. Prior to that, the visitors felt that they should have had a penalty as Fabregas lunged in on Rodriguez inside the box.

9 minWest Brom have been the better side in the opening nine minutes of the match, starting on the front foot and asking a few questions of their opponents. Chelsea have just produced a quick counter that ended with Giroud shooting into an Albion defender.

11 minJust seen a replay of that earlier penalty incident. Must be said that referee Lee Mason made the wrong call - it was a clear penalty and red card for Fabregas. Speaking of which... Dawson has lunged in on Zappacosta and himself should have seen red. What a start to this game!

13 minCHANCE! Good movement from Giroud to put the Albion backline under some pressure, earning his side a corner in the process. The Blues still yet to truly get going, and they should be a goal down. Moses with a shocking header back towards his keeper, which Rodriguez drills wide from the edge of the box when he could have taken a touch.

15 minThe best two openings so far have fallen West Brom's way, then, with Rondon headed a cross wide and substitute Rodriguez drilling wide from an even better opportunity a few moments ago. Albion are playing some decent football early on.

17 minNo goals so far but a game with pretty much everything else. Both teams are lucky to have 11 players on the field; West Brom should have had a penalty; Rondon and Rodriguez missed good chances; and Sturridge hobbled off a few minutes in.

19 minSAVE! Chelsea's first chance of the contest falls to Zappacosta at the back post. The wing-back had a clean shot at goal but was too reliant on his right foot, giving Foster a second more to adjust himself and keep the shot out.

21 minSAVE! The hosts are really starting to turn the screw now, with Eden Hazard picking out Olivier Giroud who really should have converted from six yards out. The Frenchman could only pick out Foster down the middle, though.

23 minMoses is barged over inside the box but there are no real complaints from the wing-back. After a slow start to the match, the champions have now created a couple of big chances in quick succession and appear to be closing in on an opener.


26 minBrilliant Chelsea goal, belying some of the below-par football we have seen from them in recent weeks. Giroud was heavily involved, playing a one-two with Hazard for the Belgian to bury the ball past Foster. Great build-up play and an equally impressive finish.

28 minGiroud has looked impressive on his first start for the Blues, it must be said. Chelsea have taken the lead in 14 league games at Stamford Bridge this season and gone on to win each of them - a bad omen for bottom-placed side West Brom.

30 minA decent save from Courtois, although the offside flag was up to deny Dawson anyway. West Brom do look to have a goal in them and, having seen Chelsea ship seven goals in their last two games, it is fair that this game is not yet over.

32 minAlbion win a fourth corner of the contest - compared to three for Chelsea - but the delivery was a little disappointing. The visitors yet to muster a single shot on target, whereas the Blues have had three attempts and scored from one of them.

34 minThe match has gone a little quiet since Chelsea's opener, following what was a pretty frenetic opening 25 minutes or so. Chelsea know that they will likely need a second goal if they are to take all three points from this contest.

36 minHalf a chance for Giroud, who could not quite make the right contact with his overhead-kick from six yards. Christensen does well to usher the ball out of play under pressure from Phillips, ending what could have been a promising WBA attack.

38 minAlbion have actually enjoyed 68% of possession since going behind, without being able to do a great deal with it. Still, the visitors certainly not rolling over and it is worth remembering that they should have had a penalty early in the game.

40 minA brief stoppage in play for Giroud to receive some treatment to a head injury, which has now been taped up to see him through. The first half has petered out a little since Hazard's goal, with five minutes to go until the interval.

42 minSome good play from Hazard - who has looked much more at home in a deeper position tonight - to get away from his man and keep the Chelsea attack going. No real way through for the Blues' attacking talents over the last 17 minutes or so.

44 minRodriguez chases down a ball over the top but is flagged for offside. In front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate, the striker has already squandered one big chance so far this evening to put his side in front.

45+1 minChelsea have played some really good football in this first half. The latest flowing attack sees Pedro retain possession and then send in a cross for Giroud, who could not find the target with his header. That is another half-chance.

45+3 minYELLOW CARD! A further stoppage in play following a strong challenge from Evans on Giroud, which earns the Northern Irish centre-back a yellow card. Second time today that the home debutant has stayed down after a challenge.


8.51pmReferee Lee Mason finally brings the first half to close, meaning that Chelsea hold a slender advantage midway through the contest. A battered and bruised Giroud, who played a key part in the opening goal of the match, wanted to return to the field at the end of the half but time was up.

8.54pmAlbion, boosted by the return of three previously injured players to their starting lineup, started the match brightly and had a strong call for a penalty turned down inside the opening 10 minutes. Cesc Fabregas, brought in for the suspended Tiemoue Bakayoko, lunged in on Jay Rodriguez - an early sub due to yet another Daniel Sturridge injury setback - and was fortunate to avoid conceding a spot kick and being dismissed.

8.57pmRodriguez spurned a great opportunity moments later when drilling the ball wide from the edge of the box, despite having time to carry the ball close to goal following a poor Victor Moses header. Albion's other big opening was wasted by Salomon Rondon, who could only direct a fizzed Matt Phillips delivery wide of the opposition target.

9.00pmOut-of-form Chelsea, unbeaten in 13 home matches against West Brom, slowly started to grow into the match and were good value for their goal when it arrived 25 minutes in. Davide Zappacosta was denied by Ben Foster towards the back post, while Olivier Giroud was also thwarted by the English goalkeeper prior to Eden Hazard's breakthrough moment. Giroud was heavily involved in the move on his first start for the club, holding off Ahmed Hegazi in the box and feeding a return pass into the path of Hazard to sweep the ball past Foster into the bottom corner.

9.03pmAlbion saw more of the ball between Chelsea's opener and half time, but it was the Blues who were looking the more lively with some decent interplay in the final third. Still, plenty to play for in the second half of what has been an entertaining contest so far.

CHELSEA SUBS: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Emerson, Drinkwater, Willian, Morata

WEST BROMWICH ALBION SUBS: Myhill, Nyom, Yacob, McClean, Burke, McAuley

Alvaro Morata complains during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Manchester United on November 5, 2017© Offside

46 minRESTART! Pardew has made a second change at the interval, bringing on Oliver Burke for Brunt and seemingly changing to a 3-4-3 formation. Watford started with a similar formation last weekend and gave the champions serious problems.

48 minAlbion had their moments in the first half and probably should have opened the scoring before Hazard's piece of quality. They also saw more of the ball as half time approached, but they did not test Courtois and that is why Pardew has tinkered with things.

50 minYELLOW CARD! Gibbs goes right through Moses and is rightly shown a yellow card by referee Lee Mason. Jonny Evans was booked moments before the half-time whistle for a similar challenge on Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud.

52 minFollowing a slow start to the second half things finally liven up, as Burke sends in a teasing ball for Azpilicueta to defend. Defend it he did, getting to the ball ahead of Rondon near the front post to prevent a certain goal.

54 minWest Brom doing well to keep their opponents quiet. The game is being stretched massively as the Baggies are going all out for an equaliser - there will be plenty of chances for Hazard to get at the visitors' unprotected centre-backs.

56 minSAVE! Big, big chance for West Brom to level things up here. Rondon put Blues defender Christensen under real pressure and came out on top in that personal battle, only for his one-on-one to hit Courtois and fly into the side-netting.

58 minCLOSE! Jonny Evans gets his head from the resulting corner and sends it spinning narrowly over the opposition crossbar. On the basis of the opening hour of this contest, Pardew will feel that his side deserve to at least be level.

60 minCHELSEA SUB! Giroud was impressive in the first half when it came to linking play, but he has been left battered and bruised and was always likely to make way on the hour. Alvaro Morata is welcomed back for the final 30 minutes.

62 minMorata already looking lively since coming on, playing a part in the winning of a corner for his side. The Blues have been unable to create much of anything in this second half, though, or indeed since edging themselves in front.


65 minAnother give-and-go undoes Albion, as Moses's pass is played back into his path - perhaps off Dawson, rather than one of his own teammates - and he tucked it past Foster as calmly as you like. Clinical showing from Chelsea tonight.

67 minSo far all Albion's good work this evening, they are heading for yet another defeat. A two-goal deficit is harsh on the visiting side, who will remain seven points adrift of safety with games fast running out to turn things around.

69 minSAVE! A smart stop from Foster, who does well to keep out Moses from range with his trailing leg. Might just be a case of damage limitation for Albion at this point because Chelsea are looking in the mood for a third goal.


72 minHazard's first goal was a cool finish into the far corner; this one was more about power, as he cut inside on his left and blasted the ball past a wrong-footed Foster. Two goals for Hazard and three for Chelsea - they are back on track.

74 minA nice, whipped cross into the box from Rodriguez was screaming out for Rondon to attack. Looked as though the striker ducked away from the ball, though, perhaps thinking there was a better-placed teammate running in behind him.

76 minCHELSEA SUB! Andreas Christensen, who had one shaky moment this evening on his return to the side, is replaced by Cahill for the final 14 minutes or so. Conte taking no further risks a week on from facing Barcelona.

78 minSAVE! A lofted ball into the box is not initially dealt with by Courtois, but he managed to get to the ball at the second time of asking. At the other end, Morata took range from 25 yards and saw Foster push his effort behind for a corner.

80 minTen minutes to go at Stamford Bridge and it is now simply a case of seeing this one through in as professional a manner as possible. This was the first of three big matches in the space of eight days for Chelsea - a test they have passed with ease.

82 minSUBS! Chelsea's third and final change is a straight swap up top - Willian coming on for Pedro. West Brom boss Pardew also turns to his bench for a third time, bringing on Yacob for Barry to shore up central midfield late on.

84 minThe match is now badly petering out, with Hazard's third of the evening settling things. Moses had a chance to get at the opposition defence a few moments ago, but he instead decided to take on the shot from range and dragged it wide.

86 minAzpilicueta unhappy at being wrestled to the ground by Hegazi inside the box. Three attempts, two goals and five chances created for Hazard tonight - he has enjoyed himself and has helped his side returning to winning ways in the process.

88 minWillian is played in behind but is on a different wavelength to Hazard, pulling the ball back to nobody in particular. Referee Lee Mason is only likely to add a couple of minutes at the end - both teams are happy for this one to end.

90 minTwo minutes have been added on at the end of the match, with Chelsea the team probing away for the fourth goal of the evening. That would be a nice way to round things off, on what has been a far more enjoyable night for their fans.


10.00pmChelsea return to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over bottom-placed West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge. The result was not as straightforward as the scoreline suggests, as the visitors started well and also had chances at 1-0. In the end, though, Eden Hazard - not for the first time - proved to be the difference between the sides.

10.02pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from West London. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while reaction from both camps will follow elsewhere on the site in the next hour. Thanks for joining!

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Diego Costa eats his medal during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Sunderland on May 21, 2017
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