Albion 1 Chelsea 4 - FULL MATCH REPORT
GOALS from William Galas, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Damien Duff and Frank Lampard
ended gutsy Albion's unbeaten home record.
The Baggies were unlucky to find themselves one down at the break but were
swept aside in the second-half by Chelsea's title-chasing mega stars.
Top scorer Zoltan Gera gave Albion hope when he reduced the Blues' lead to
2-1 in the 56th minute - only the fourth goal the West London outfit have
conceded in 15 games this season.
But Jose Mourinho's men eventually ran out comfortable winners
Frank Burrows made two changes for his first game in charge as caretaker
manager, recalling Neil Clement, following his three-game ban, and Jonathan
Greening in place of Bernt Haas and Martin Albrechtsen.
Albion looked anything but star struck as they kicked off against Mourinho's
expensively-assembled side, giving the visitors plenty of food for thought
during a bright opening to the game.
Chelsea keeper Petr Cech had a nervy moment as early as the third minute
when he failed to deal with an Andy Johnson cross, but team-mate Gallas got
him off the hook by blocking Kanu's goalbound strike.
After Lampard and former Chelsea man Clement had both unsuccessfully tried
their luck from distance, Albion had a mini let off when Gallas could only
head Duff's dangerous cross over at the far post.
But the Baggies then enjoyed a purple patch in which they went close three
times in quick succession.
Kanu poked just wide from Riccardo Scimeca's cross before pint-sized striker
Robert Earnshaw came within a whisker of connecting with Kanu's high ball
into the box with just Cech to beat.
Earnshaw, on only his fourth start for his new club, then made space for
himself on the edge of the Blues box and wasn't too far away with a
Chelsea gradually began to take the upper hand as the half passed the midway
point but failed to convert their pressure into a clear cut chance.
In fact, it wasn't until the 38th minute that Russell Hoult's goal was
seriously threatened again when Ireland wing wizard Duff headed a decent
chance well over from Paulo Ferreira's right-wing cross.
Hoult was a little more relieved to see John Terry head England star
Lampard's hanging corner straight at him from eight yards moments later.
But Albion cruelly found themselves behind in first-half stoppage time.
Terry lost his marker to head Lampard's corner goalwards and fellow
centre-half Gallas stabbed home from two yards.
Chelsea stormed out of the blocks after the break and Hoult had to produce a
wonderful save to keep out a swerving 30-yard drive from goalscorer Gallas.
And, after substitute Arjen Robben had curled a shot just wide from the edge
of the box, the unmarked Gudjohnsen ghosted between two Albion defenders to
head Chelsea two up from Duff's pinpoint centre in the 51st minute.
But Gera threw the hosts a lifeline by pulling one back just five minutes
The Hungary captain beat the pedestrian Cech with a sublime first-time shot
from 20 yards after the Czech international keeper had beaten away Kanu's
drive from inside the box.
But Albion's joy was short-lived as Chelsea restored their two-goal cushion
three minutes later.
Lampard spearheaded a swift counter attack after Albion had gifted Chelsea
possession on the edge of the Blues' box and the ex-West Ham maestro fed
Duff who beat Hoult with a cool right-foot finish.
It was almost 4-1 moments later when the impressive Lampard shot into the
side netting from Duff's scuffed corner.
Back came Albion and Kanu should have done better with an eight-yard header
from Jonathan Greening's cross which Cech saved comfortably low to his left.
But as Burrows' side chased a second goal, they left themselves open to the
counter-attack and Lampard twice went close with shots from inside the box.
Yet Albion kept plugging away and Cech did well to palm wide an awkward
curling shot from Gera which bounced just in front of the giant Chelsea
The action continued to swing from end to end and Hoult showed a safe pair
of hands to clutch Robben's right-footed grass-cutter from the edge of the
Lampard wrapped up the points nine minutes from time by beating Hoult with a
ALBION (4-4-2): Hoult; Scimeca, Gaardsoe, Moore, Robinson; Gera, Johnson,
Clement (Koumas 63), Greening (Dyer 80); Kanu, Earnshaw (Dobie 56). Subs not
used: Kuszczak (gk), Haas.
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cech; Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Bridge (Carvalho HT);
Smertin, Makelele, Lampard (Tiago 83), Cole (Robben HT); Duff, Gudjohnsen.
Subs not used: Cudicini (gk), Kezman.
GOALS: ALBION - Gera (56). CHELSEA - Gallas (45), Gudjohnsen (51), Duff
(59), Lampard (81).
BOOKINGS: ALBION - Robinson (54).
REFEREE: B Knight (Orpington)
ALBION STARMAN: Zoltan Gera.