Diego Costa scored the only goal as Chelsea beat a resolute West Brom on Sunday afternoon.
The Spaniard capitalised on defensive hesitancy before thrashing a glorious shot beyond Ben Foster to secure the points.
West Brom played admirably and their defensive rearguard made it difficult for the Blues. Even in the wake of last weekend’s stunning demolition of Manchester City, this was one of Chelsea’s toughest tasks so far this season.
Sitting deep and doubling up on Eden Hazard and Pedro was an effective tactic. It isolated Costa and it was only through the former Atletico Madrid man’s sheer brilliance that Antonio Conte’s men prevailed.
Here, however, we take a look at how the boys in Blue fared yesterday.
- Courtois – 6 – virtually unemployed. Quick to react to one excellent cross to deny Rondon. Safe hands and an eighth clean sheet of the season.
- Azpilicueta – 6 – steady, and comfortable in initiating attacks.
- Luiz – 5 – certainly not fully fit, and understandable after Aguero’s horror tackle. Discomforted by Rondon’s physicality.
- Cahill – 6 – made a brilliant block to deny Fletcher a certain goal. Dependable.
- Moses – 6 – energetic but largely marked out of the game by a stubborn West Brom defence.
- Matic – 7 – key in breaking up several attacks and pushing the Blues forward from deep.
- Kante – 6 – efficient, though somewhat dawdled in possession, which frustrated some attacking opportunities.
- Alonso – 7 – the only real genuine width on display; a faultless offensive and defensive showing.
- Hazard – 5 – glimpses of brilliance, but marked out of the game.
- Pedro – 5 – some great endeavour, but frustrated by a lack of time on the ball. Replaced early on.
- Costa – 8 – brilliant. You cannot even give him a second. Superb endeavour to rescue a lost cause, and you’ll do well to see a better weak foot finish than that. Man of the match.
Willian (5) fared little better than Pedro, who he replaced. Fabregas (7) created the goal with an admittedly hopeful lofted pass into the channel but moved the ball with greater fluency and incisiveness than anyone else on the pitch. Ivanovic (6) was dependable when called upon.