Chelsea 3-0 West Brom: It’s a start, we will take it but plenty of work still to do.

Chelsea beat West Brom 3-0 with goals from Eden Hazard (2) and Victor Moses to move back into the top four. It was a crucial victory for ...

Chelsea beat West Brom 3-0 with goals from Eden Hazard (2) and Victor Moses to move back into the top four. It was a crucial victory for Antonio Conte and his players. 

As with any game of football, there are the positives and the negatives to take from the game and it’s important to recognise the negatives here in the first fifteen minutes of the game.

West Brom started much the better side, could have had an argument for a penalty was wasn’t given, had an opportunity to go one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois in goal which was wasted and generally put Chelsea under pressure. But for the impressive Andreas Christensen who surely now must be viewed as “untouchable” for Conte, West Brom could have unlocked the door far too many times for our liking. It’s also worth noting that Courtois made a fantastic save from close range against Rondon and Jonny Evans missed a glaring opportunity from a corner. It wasn’t perfect from Chelsea defensively.

Now to the positives and you have to say there were four for me in this one. Firstly, as discussed already, the return of Andreas Christensen and his maturity on the pitch was a real highlight tonight. But for one moment when it looked like he should have been awarded a free-kick that led to Rondon’s chance, he was outstanding. Stepping in to win tackles, striding forward with the ball, finding himself in the right position and playing with a cool, calm level head gives us so much that you only realise how important he has become when he isn’t in the side. Against Bournemouth it was 0-0 when he was forced off and we all know what happened in the rest of that game and Watford a week ago when he was missing.

Eden Hazard once again stepped up for Chelsea playing in a position that is much more comfortable for him – playing off the main striker or the point of reference as he calls it. He was everywhere and showed a willingness to come and get the ball if it looked as though our build up play into the final third had come to standstill.

His first goal, our first of the night came from nothing. Having picked up the ball on the right-hand corner of the penalty box, he turned inside, spotting Giroud had moved into space giving him and option to pass to. The Belgian flicked the ball into his path for Giroud to glance the ball back into the path of his run off of the ball whilst holding off his defender’s challenge and Hazard stepped up to strike the ball low into the bottom corner giving Ben Foster in goal no chance.

His second goal, our third of the night was purely Eden Hazard and a finish we have seen so many times before. This was like the goal he scored against Everton last year as once again cutting inside from right to left on the right-hand edge of the box, Hazard spotted the opportunity and drilled a left-footed strike into the bottom right hand corner giving the goalkeeper no chance again. It was sensational but that’s been Eden Hazard this season – thank god.

Olivier Giroud played an hour in this one before he hobbled off and did more than enough to offer real encouragement. He isn’t the quickest up front but more than makes up for that with his movement off the ball. He had two opportunities to score from close range with Ben Foster blocking his effort which looked like it had been easier to score and the other an overhead kick from six yards which he just couldn’t turn his body enough in mid-air to get his effort on target. Other than that, his link up for the first goal was excellent, his hold up play for the most part was good, and he became what we have been lacking for so long – a reference point up front.

The fourth and final positive must be the return of Alvaro Morata who replaced Giroud on the hour. Having taken to social media once footage of him carrying his wife on his back when he was out recently injured appeared to which he stated was old footage and not recent, it was good to see him for thirty minutes and offered real encouragement again. His link-up play was good, he found space to play and had a couple of efforts at goal. You would have to imagine that both he and Giroud will play a half each against Hull as we prepare for Barcelona in just over a weeks’ time.

Victor Moses completed our goal-scoring with the second goal and had a certain element of luck about it. Striding forward from the right-hand side, he reached the edge of the West Brom box and looked to play a one-two with Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas tried an outrageous flick to play the ball through which took a massive deflection off the defender and happened to fall right into the path of Moses who slotted the ball home with his left foot into the bottom corner. 

To conclude it was a vital, crucial victory for Antonio Conte and for the Chelsea team heading into two big games coming up away from the Premier League. The clean sheet was important, and it was good to see Courtois make the save when called upon. As I said there are plenty of positives but also negatives that we still need to work on, but the win gives us confidence moving into the rest of the week.

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