West Brom 2-3 Chelsea: What happened in this game for only the second time in Premier League history?
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Champions Chelsea tasted victory for the first time this season, at the third attempt, despite seeing skipper John Terry sent off early in the second half at West Bromwich Albion.
The visitors were looking to avoid a fifth consecutive visit to The Hawthorns without a win, while Jose Mourinho's previous six Premier League losses had come against managers whose surname began with the letter 'P'.
And Tony Pulis' hopes of becoming the first boss to win three Premier League games against the Portuguese looked good after 15 minutes when Nemanja Matic fouled Callum McManaman inside the penalty area.
But James Morrison blasted his spot-kick against Thibaut Courtois' outstretched right leg, and from there the Blues didn't look back in an open and entertaining first half in the Midlands.
Pedro enjoyed a dream debut by first firing the visitors ahead, via a deflection, after playing a one-two with Eden Hazard, before teeing up Diego Costa to end a devastating counter-attack.
Morrison made amends for his penalty failure by reducing arrears after 35 minutes, smashing home after Salomon Rondon had kept a deep cross alive. But the Blues' two-goal cushion had been re-established by the break; Cesar Azpilicueta capping an influential first half performance by scuffing home Chelsea's third after Costa had chested down Cesc Fabregas' chipped ball forward.
Having been hooked at half-time at Manchester City last weekend, Terry would have been hoping for an incident-free outing at The Hawthorns, but less than 10 minutes of the second period had elapsed when he saw red for upending Rondon as the Venezuelan bore down on goal. And the Baggies were quick to capitalise on their numerical advantage; Morrison glancing home McManaman's devilish cross.
The former Wigan tormentor turned Branislav Ivanovic inside out before curling narrowly wide of the far corner as the hosts pushed forward in search of parity, and the Blues were glad to see the back of him when he was replaced by Arsenal loanee Serge Gnabry after 78 minutes. Chelsea held on, in no small part down to Hazard, who was not only the best passer (63/70), chance creator (5) and dribbler of the game (5/6), but also helped wind the clock down in the latter stages to ensure victory in B71 for the first time since April 2011.
- Only once before in Premier League history have 3 Spanish players scored for the same team in the same game (Michu, Pablo Hernandez and Angel Rangel for Swansea against QPR in February 2013).
- John Terry has been sent off for the first time in the Premier League since April 2010 (vs Spurs) and for the fifth time overall.
- It is the first time in Terry’s career that he’s failed to finish consecutive Premier League games having started both.
- West Brom have now missed 2 of their last 3 penalties in the Premier League (Dorrans vs Hull in December 2014).
- Pedro is the sixth different Spaniard to score for Chelsea in the Premier League, while Cesar Azpilicueta was the seventh (Del Horno, Torres, Mata, Costa, Fabregas are the others).
- James Morrison scored for the first time in 18 Premier League games against Chelsea, and equalled his tally of goals for last season by finding the net twice in the match.
- In each of the 4 Premier League games Diego Costa has assisted a goal, he’s also scored.
- Chelsea have beaten West Brom more often in the Premier League than any other side (14).