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Jan 13, 2016 at 7.45pm UK at Stamford Bridge
West BromWest Bromwich Albion
Azpilicueta (20'), McAuley (73' og.)
FT(HT: 1-1)
Gardner (33'), McClean (86')

Result: James McClean strikes late to deny Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion play out a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in an entertaining affair.

James McClean struck late on to earn a share of the spoils for West Bromwich Albion in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this evening.

An improved Blues side dropped yet more points on home soil after twice taking the lead, with a battling Albion side refusing to accept defeat and digging deep for a result which keeps them above the fallen champions in 13th place.

Cesar Azpilicueta celebrates scoring Chelsea's first goal against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on January 13, 2016© Getty Images

Chelsea edged the opening stages of what was a tightly-contested first half, with both Willian and Diego Costa firing wide of the target when presented with half-chances to open the scoring.

The visitors, who had lost the creative talent of James Morrison early on through injury, created a few openings of their own which Chris Brunt and Darren Fletcher both failed to make the most of.

Just when the Baggies looked to find some momentum for the first time, Chelsea found a way through somewhat against the run of play when Cesar Azpilicueta tapped home with the simplest of finishes at the end of a Branislav Ivanovic cross.

It was the Spaniard's second goal for the Blues, with his other strike also coming against Pulis's men earlier this campaign in a match that Chelsea would edge 3-2 in the Midlands.

Diego Costa shouts during the game between Chelsea and West Brom on January 13, 2016© Getty Images

West Brom had certainly matched their opponents up until that point, and they were rewarded for their efforts thanks to Craig Gardner's fine strike from range, just 25 minutes after replacing the injured Morrison.

Moments after Costa wasted another sight of goal, Gardner made the most of the space afforded to him around 25 yards out and slotted one beyond the reach of the returning Thibaut Courtois between the sticks.

The remainder of the half fizzled out a little, only lighting up when referee Anthony Taylor felt the wrath of a fired-up Costa for blowing the half-time whistle when the hosts were looking to stage a positive looking counter-attacking move.

Interim Blues boss Guus Hiddink, still unbeaten since returning to Stamford Bridge, looked to change things around at the break with the introduction of Kenedy for the ineffective Pedro in attack.

It was a move that would later pay dividends, but up until the frantic final third to the match there was still very little between the well-matched teams.

Craig Gardner of West Bromwich Albion celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his teammate Darren Fletcher against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on January 13, 2016© Getty Images

Just when things had appeared to peter out somewhat, a Willian cross into the box was diverted into his own net by an unfortunate Gareth McAuley, who was put under real pressure by Kenedy when sliding in.

Costa perhaps should have wrapped things up moments later when played through, only to see his shot across goal pushed aside by Boaz Myhill who was preferred to Ben Foster in goal.

That miss proved costly, too, as McClean picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and blasted home with around three minutes left to play to maintain Albion's impressive start to the year.

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Ben Foster in action for West Brom on October 25, 2014
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