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West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea Live Commentary, 5/12/17

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M. Batshuayi (82)
The Hawthorns


Chelsea were made to work hard for the win with West Brom proving to be extremely resilient in defence, but Antonio Conte’s decision to bring off Pedro and Eden Hazard and bring on Willian and Michy Batshuayi proved to be decisive, as the latter turned in Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross eight minutes from time to secure a fifth Premier League title for Chelsea. That’s all from us for today, thanks for joining us and we hope you can join us again soon.
Full-time: West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Chelsea
Now it’s West Brom’s turn to play patient football as Chelsea get plenty of numbers behind the ball and eventually Nyom swings in a left-footed cross from the right-hand side, but it’s nowhere near any West Brom players and Luiz heads it away with ease.
SAVE!! We’re into the first of five minutes of added time as Fletcher stands up a cross towards the back post where Rondon peels away and draws a good save from Courtois low to his left with an unconvincing first-time volley, although the flag is up for offside against the striker so the goal wouldn’t have counted anyway.
Things are just getting a little bit scrappy is the stands now with one or two fans having got onto the pitch and referee Michael Oliver is forced to stop the game momentarily. It certainly doesn’t stop Antonio Conte though who continues to bark instructions to his players.
K. Zouma
V. Moses
Another change for Chelsea now as they look to see out the remaining minutes of this game, with Kurt Zouma replacing Moses.
Antonio Conte went absolutely crazy as that goal went in and the Chelsea fans did likewise, and they’re certainly in party mode in the stands now.
César Azpilicueta
Azpilicueta has got forward at will throughout this game and he reacted well to get to that ball quickly and slide it across for the goal.
M. Batshuayi
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! Batshuayi puts Chelsea ahead!!! Azpilicueta gets in behind the West Brom defence down the right-hand side and slides in a cross towards Batshuayi on the edge of the six yard box, and the striker pokes the ball past Foster to put his side ahead, and put them within touching dstance of winning the Premier League title.
Batshuayi goes in with a rash challenge on Yacob midway through the West Brom half and the home side are awarded a free-kick. Yacob has made a real difference in the middle of the park for West Brom, giving them much more control since his introduction.
Tony Pulis is delivering a message to his players via a piece of paper which Fletcher is trying to read whilst running backwards into his own half to get ready for a Chelsea goal kick. It looks as though the message was to switch to a five man defence though.
M. Batshuayi
And it’s going to be a double change from Antonio Conte in fact, with Michy Batshuayi also coming on for Pedro, which will surely mean a change is system.
E. Hazard
A first change for Chelsea now as Willian comes on to replace Hazard, who hasn’t had his best game in a Chelsea shirt.
HUGE CHANCE!!! Another chance for West Brom as Chadli is picked out by Livermore 12 yards out from goal inside the right-hand edge of the penalty area, but with only Courtois to beat his drags his shot across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
M. Wilson
Yellow Card
West Bromwich Albion
Wilson goes into the book for a late tackle.
CHANCE!! A huge chance for Rondon to put West Brom ahead as Yacob wins the ball back midway through his own half and plays the ball up to Rondon close to halfway. The striker then knocks the ball past David Luiz who’s the last man on the halfway line and surges towards goal, but Azpilicueta tracks back extremely well and slides in to block the shot.
Perhaps one or two signs of frustration starting to creep in for Chelsea now as Hazard drives at Nyom just inside the left-hand edge of the penalty box and blasts a shot high over the bar from a tight angle, when a cross would probably have been the far better option.
Fabregas picks out Hazard with another wonderful long ball over the top and the Belgian is clean through down the left-hand side, but the linesman’s flag goes up against him for offside.
It looks as though that change has led to a re-shuffle at the back for West Brom, with Wilson going in to left-back, Nyom going across to the right and Dawson slotting in alongside Evans at centre-back.
M. Wilson
G. McAuley
West Bromwich Albion
McAuley took a knock a few moments ago and he’s not going to be able to continue, but he does leave the field to a standing ovation as Marc Wilson comes on in his place.
Chelsea are still looking comfortable and are starting to create some more meaningful chances, but they aren’t controlling this game quite as Antonio Conte might like.
Another half-chance for Costa as Azpilicueta fires the ball into his feet just inside the penalty box and his first touch sets him up to shoot on his left foot, but with McAuley just in front of him he tries to take another touch back onto his right foot and ends up losing his balance, and possession.
N. Chadli
J. McClean
West Bromwich Albion
A second change for West Brom now as McClean, who is perhaps lucky to have avoided a second yellow card in the first half, is replaced by Nacer Chadli.
Chelsea have another free-kick in a very similar position following another foul on Hazard, this time by Brunt, and Cahill gets his head to this free-kick but Chelsea are penalised for blocking in the middle.
The free-kick drifts straight out for a goal kick from Fabregas’s delivery due to a breakdown in communication, as the midfielder floats the ball towards the back post while all the Chelsea players in the box run across the front post.
Hazard is brought down by Dawson on the left-hand side and referee Michael Oliver awards Chelsea a free-kick, although replays would suggest it to be a little bit soft.
Off the line!! Yacob is involved almost immediately as Hazard gets in behind the West Brom defence and turns the ball back across the six yard box into a dangerous area where McCauley sticks out a leg and diverts it towards his own goal, but Yacob is in the right place to block the ball away just in front of the goal line.
C. Yacob
S. Field
West Bromwich Albion
A first change for West Brom now as Field is replaced by Claudio Yacob.
Close!! Chelsea go close again as Fabregas runs onto a lay-off from Costa and drills a right-footed effort narrowly wide of the right-hand post from 25 yards out. The midfielder just hit across the ball then so it was always spinning away from goal.
Chance!! Chelsea have started this second half really well and Pedro cuts onto his left foot on the right-hand side and crosses towards Costa in the middle and the striker attempts an acrobatic overhead kick from 10 yards out, but he doesn’t get a clean connection on the ball and Foster can save it with relative ease.
SAVE!! A wonderful save from Foster as Fabregas picks out Moses just inside the right-hand corner of the West Brom penalty area and the wing-back drills a low, right-footed effort towards the bottom corner, but Foster springs to his right to tip the ball around the post.
Kick-off! Costa gets the second half underway for Chelsea.
West Brom manager Tony Pulis will be pretty pleased with the way his side have played overall, but he may well turn to Hal Robson-Kanu or Nacer Chadli on his bench to give them a bit more pace on the break, while Antonio Conte will be urging his players to remain patient and not to try and force the play too much.
For all their dominance in possession throughout the first half, Chelsea have been unable to find a way through an extremely well organised West Brom defence, and the home side have looked a threat on the counter-attack on a couple of occassions too.
Half-time: West Brom 0-0 Chelsea
West Brom break forward down the left-hand side through Rondon and McClean before the latter slides in a low cross towards Brunt at the front post, but David Luiz gets back extremely well to intercept the ball and cut out the danger.
Chance! Costa gets his first half-chance of the game as Pedro rolls the ball into his feet 12 yards out from goal and he turns McCauley well, but in doing so he knocks the ball further away from goal and can only blast his shot high over the ball from a tight angle.
Chelsea are still having to remain extremely patient in possession with West Brom sitting deep inside their own half.
West Brom go on a rare venture into the Chelsea half and Nyom picks out Rondon with a good cross from the left-hand side, but the striker can’t bring the ball under control and Chelsea regain possession.
CHANCE!! A chance for Chelsea as Moses rolls the ball into Pedro inside the box and he knocks the ball out of his feet with a lovely first touch, but he fires his left-footed effort wide of the far post from 15 yards out.
S. Field
Yellow Card
West Bromwich Albion
Sam Field, who’s struggled to get into this game, goes into the book for bringing down Pedro as the Spaniard looked to break into the West Brom half.
Chelsea once again knock the ball around midway through the West Brom half with very little pressure on them before Pedro tries a neat little flick into Costa on the edge of the area, but the pass is slightly wayward and rolls straight through to Foster.
Close!! Fabregas is involved in almost everything going forward for Chelsea at the minute and this time he goes for goal himself, driving a low, right-footed shot inches wide of the left-hand post from the edge of the penalty area.
McClean brings down Moses with another clumsy challenge close to the right-hand touchline and he has to restrain himself from disputing the decision too heavily given that he has already been booked. Tony Pulis doesn’t look to happy once again although that may well be in frustration at his player rather than the decision.
Hazard is back to his feet and looks as though he’s going to be absolutely fine to continue as Fabregas and Azpilicueta once again link up midway through the West Brom half and this time the defender chooses to cross the ball towards Costa, but the delivery is far too high and Foster claims it high above his head.
Hazard is down clutching his ankle just outside the West Brom penalty area and play is eventually stopped. Nyom did appear to catch him in his follow through but referee Oliver was not interested in giving a free-kick.
Fabregas once again gets on the ball 30 yards out from goal and rolls the ball across to Cesar Azpilicueta to his right and the Spaniard shoots towards goal, but his well-struck effort is straight at Foster who gets everything behind it and holds on with ease.
Chelsea are having to be extremely patient with the ball at the moment as West Brom are sitting very deep and keeping their defensive shape well.
Fabregas floats in the resultant free-kick and it goes all the way through to Cahill at the back post, but West Brom are just about able to throw enough men in the way to prevent Foster being called into action.
J. McClean
Yellow Card
West Bromwich Albion
McClean is shown the first yellow card of the game for bringing down Victor Moses on the edge of the penalty box and Tony Pulis is absolutely furious on the touchline.
Antonio Conte will be pleased with the way his side have started this game going forward, but the ease with which West Brom have been able to break forward on the counter attack will certainly be a concern.
For the second time in a matter of minutes West Brom break forward at pace through McClean down the right-hand side and the winger has Allan Nyom is acres of space on the far side of the field, but this time the pass is too soft and Chelsea are able to get men behind the ball by the time it reaches the left-back.
Close!! Fabregas takes a free-kick short to Pedro following a foul by Fletcher 25 yards out from goal and Pedro is once again in space on the edge of the box, but Jonny Evans gets out quickly to deflect his first-time shot narrowly wide of the post.
The game has all of a sudden opened up as West Brom break forward at pace with James McClean surging into the Chelsea half with Rondon ahead of him, but the winger’s pass is behind his teammate and the opportunity goes begging. Chelsea then break forward at pace themselves through Costa and Pedro, but West Brom get enough bodies behind the ball to block the latter’s 20-yard shot.
Chelsea are looking extremely comfortable at the moment and Pedro gets away from Craig Dawson down the left-hand side of the penalty area and crosses the ball into the body of Chris Brunt, although Pedro is adamant the ball has come off Brunt’s arm but referee Oliver is not interested.
Fabregas rolls the ball across the top of the West Brom penalty area into the feet of Pedro who shifts the ball into space and lines up a left-footed shot, but he blasts the ball high over the bar and into the crowd from 25 yards out.
Fabregas does swing in a deep cross towards the back post from the free-kick and Gary Cahill gets on the end of it, but he’s on the stretch as he tries to turn it back across goal and can only knock the ball straight out for a goal kick.
Eden Hazard is seeing plenty of the ball early on and he wins a free-kick on the left-hand touchline following a foul by Gareth McAuley, and Fabregas will look to whip a cross in from the free-kick.
A half-chance for Pedro as Cesc Fabregas picks him out with a wonderful ball over the top of the West Brom defence and Ben Foster is caught in two minds as to whether to stay or come, but Pedro is unable to bring the ball under control as it drops over his shoulder.
The Chelsea fans are in full voice already and their side have just started to settle into this game after the bright start from West Brom.
Save! A really bright start to the game for West Brom as Darren Fletcher whips in a first-time cross towards Salomon Rondon in the middle and the striker flicks a header towards goal from 12 yards out, but Thibaut Courtois turns it over the bar with relative ease and the corner then comes to nothing.
Kick-off! Michael Oliver blows his whistle and West Brom get the game underway.
The players are making their way out onto the pitch, kick-off is not far away now.
Diego Costa scored the only goal of the game when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, one of 20 Premier League goals the striker has scored this season.
Chelsea meanwhile are unchanged from their last game, a 3-0 home win over Middlesbrough, however N’Golo Kante is included on the bench having missed that game with a thigh injury.
West Brom make one change from the side that drew 2-2 at Burnley last time out, with Allan Nyom coming in to replace Marc Wilson at left-back.
Subs: Begovic, Zouma, Terry, Ake, Kante, Willian, Batshuayi
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Hazard; Costa
Subs: Myhill, Wilson, Yacob, Morrison, Chadli, Leko, Robson-Kanu
Teams: West Brom (4-5-1): Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom; Brunt, Livermore, Fletcher, Field, McClean; Rondon
They do though sit eighth in the table, albeit 13 points behind Everton in seventh, and their home form prior to the last three matches has been relatively impressive, with nine of their 12 Premier League win this season having come at The Hawthorns.
West Brom in contrast are without a win in their last six games, and they have lost all of their last three home matches by a 1-0 scoreline.
They will certainly be full of confidence too having won their last three league games, scoring 10 goals and conceding just two in the process.
Chelsea go into the game seven points clear at the top of the table, knowing that a win would secure the Premier League title with two games to spare.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns.