PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea put Champions League gloom behind them
Chelsea managed to come from a goal down to eventually ease past West Bromwich Albion 3-1 at The Hawthorns this afternoon. The Blues put their Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester United behind them by using a tenacious approach after falling behind to a Peter Odemwingie strike inside the opening 20 minutes.
Carlo Ancelotti's men chased a fourth goal for the entire second half but were unable to do so, even with Fernando Torres putting the ball in the back of the net, however, the goal didn't stand as he was off-side.
The win was the London club's fifth in their last six in the league and has put them within a point of second-placed Arsenal whilst the Baggies lost for the first time in seven outings forcing them down to 11th.
Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich Crowd: 25,163 Referee: Lee Probert Yellow cards:WBA - Abdoulaye Meite 34' CHE - nil
Chelsea began brightly, having a few chances in the early stages but were unable to get one past the West Brom defence.
The visitors then fell behind in the 17th minute, seemingly against the run of play. GOAL Jerome Thomas played a neat through-ball for Peter Odwemwingie and the Nigerian produced a cool finish, chipping over an advancing Petr Cech for his 12th of the season which is a Baggies record for goals in the Premier League.
GOAL However, the celebrations were short-lived when Didier Drogba backed up his goal in the Champions League midweek with a simple finish after West Brom defender Nicky Shorey failed to clear a cross properly. The equaliser came five minutes after Odemwingie's opener.
GOAL Then all of a sudden, the Blues were ahead when Drogba made an angle run before shooting goalward in the 26th minute, his shot forcing Scott Carson into a diving save. Unfortunately for the home side, the deflection fell straight to Salomon Kalou who perfectly placed his left-footed shot inside the far post to make it 2-1.
Carson came up with a vital save just after the half-hour mark when Frank Lampard found Branislav Ivanovic with a nice cross but the Serbian could not beat the Baggies custodian with his header.
GOALChelsea's third came just before half-time when Drogba played a ball down the line on the left flank for Florent Malouda who had acres of space and easily found an unmarked Lampard at the top of the area. The England midfielder had time to pick his spot and whip it past Carson to make it 3-1 ahead of the break.
The ball was in the back of the net for the fourth time for Chelsea seven minutes into the second half when Drogba played in Malouda but the Frenchman was slightly off-side with the linesman making the correct call, saving the Baggies.
Moments later, Drogba tried his luck from long range as he spied Carson slightly off his line but the dipping shot was just over the crossbar. The Ivory Coast international was certainly up for it today.
Chelsea were putting West Brom under siege and again came close to a fourth when Kalou's shot from inside the area bobbled up off defender Abdoulaye Meite and over Carson but was denied by the crossbar just after the hour-mark.
The Blues were dominating the contest but were fairly inefficient in their attempts to score a fourth and then the moment that all Chelsea supporters were waiting for occurred, however, very cruelly. Fernando Torres, who came on as a sub for Drogba, had the ball in the back of the net for the first time for his new club when Malouda played him in but he was adjudged to be off side. The Spaniard is having absolutely no luck.
Baggies skipper Chris Brunt could have had his side back in it when his 86th minute free-kick was inches wide before he failed to bury a header from a Carlos Vela cross from the left.
West Brom had a taste for it late but it was all for nothing as Chelsea managed to leave The Hawthorns with all three points.
West Brom Scott Carson (gk) - Steven Reid, Abdoulaye Meite, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey - Jerome Thomas (Tchoyi 82'), Youssuf Mulumbu, Paul Scharner (Jara 73'), James Morrison (Vela 73'), Chris Brunt - Peter Odemwingie
Subs - Boaz Myhill (gk), Carlos Vela (73'), Gonzalo Jara (73'), Somen Tchoyi (82'), Gabriel Tamas, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Simon Cox
Chelsea Petr Cech (gk) - Branislav Ivanovic (Bosingwa 63'), David Luiz, John Terry, Ashley Cole - John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard (Benayoun 77'), Michael Essien - Florent Malouda, Didier Drogba (Torres 82'), Salomon Kalou