Well I hate to say I told you so, although I couldn't take any credibility for an almost obvious prediction of West Brom's result against the table-toping Blues. Chelsea provided yet another blow to Albion's hopes of surviving in the Premiership, in the form of a 3-0 shellacking.
Albion showed some promise in the opening 30 minutes of match, courtesy of a 20-yard effort from James Morrison that traveled just too high over Scott Carson's goal. Midfielder, Borja Valero was the catalyst for what was Albion's most prominent opportunity of the entire match when he made a fantastic 50 yard run and slipped the ball into the path of striker Ismael Miller's run. Miller conjured a convincing strike, but it flew across the face of goal.
It was Chelsea who broke the deadlock after 34 minutes when the speedy right-back Jose Bosingwa found the top right corner with a stunning strike just outside the right side of the 16-yard box to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Chelsea would double their tally just four minutes later, when Nicolas Anelka charged onto a loose ball and made a blistering run toward the Albion goal. He then lifted the ball over Scott Carson as the keeper attempted to slide and block the oncoming threat from the Premier Leagues top goal-scorer.
Anelka would add to his count before the end of the half to make it twelve goals for the season. Salomon Kalou provided a brilliant pass that cut through two Albion defenders and arrived at the feet of the clinical finisher, who coolly struck the ball past Carson and across the goal into the bottom right.
?For 30 minutes we kept them at bay and the first goal against these sides is always huge. If you can get it, you can frustrate them a bit and ask more questions of them.? Said Tony Mowbray during the post match interview.
I give credit to Mowbray for operating with two strikers up front and maintaining a philosophy of playing a more attractive passing game of football; I always felt that was a more effective method for lesser sides to approach quality teams instead of playing 11 men behind the ball and praying for a useful counter-attack. However, the lack of quality in West Brom's defense has never been more prevalent and their chances of surviving in the top flight are diminishing with each passing fixture. At the beginning of the season I was closely focusing on the striking issues that seemed to turn good performances into draws rather than wins. However, after 15 rounds it seems that the lack of quality of the back four has become a more prevalent issue with this Albion side, more so than any other aspect within the squad.
After a poor result against Hull City a few weeks ago, the Baggies are off to Stoke to face a yet another of their counter-parts. With Stoke City dwelling in and out of the relegation zone, there's a justifiable argument that they're likely to just survive or potentially get relegated come seasons' end, making next weeks match against Albion a potential six pointer that may be decisive on whether either of these clubs will play two consecutive seasons in the Premier League.
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