West Brom 0-4 Chelsea: Eden Hazard adds to the pressure on Tony Pulis
By Adam Bate
Last Updated: 18/11/17 7:35pm
Chelsea cruised to a comfortable 4-0 win over struggling West Brom at the Hawthorns to add to the pressure on beleaguered boss Tony Pulis.
Eden Hazard was the star of the show, his good work setting up Alvara Morata for the opener after 17 minutes, before scoring twice himself either side of half-time in a convincing win for Antonio Conte's team.
Prior to Hazard's second, Marcos Alonso had already added his side's third before the break to end West Brom's hopes in front of an increasingly agitated Hawthorns crowd.
West Brom: Foster (5); McAuley (5), Hegazi (5), Evans (5); Phillips (6), Krychowiak (5), Barry (4), Livermore (5), Gibbs (5); Rondon (5), Rodriguez (5).
Subs: Yacob (5), McClean (5), Burke (5)
Chelsea: Courtois (6); Christensen (8), Cahill (7), Azpilicueta (7); Zappacosta (7), Kante (7), Fabregas (8), Bakayoko (8), Alonso (7); Hazard (9), Morata (8).
Subs: Drinkwater (6), Pedro (6), Willian (6).
Man of the match: Eden Hazard
The result took defending champions Chelsea up to second in the Premier League table prior to Manchester United's game against Newcastle, but extends Albion's winless streak to 10.
Pulis' team showed some signs of containing Chelsea early on and had a goal disallowed when Salomon Rondon's header squeezed beyond Thibaut Courtois only for him to be adjudged offside.
But any confidence ebbed away once Hazard wriggled free of Gareth Barry and fired off a left-footed shot that Ben Foster could only parry into the path of Morata.
It was the Spaniard's eighth goal of the season and his fourth assist came soon after as he flicked on Cesc Fabregas' through-ball into the path of Hazard, who rounded Foster and slotted home.
The third came after Ahmed Hegazi needlessly brought down Morata on the edge of the penalty box and Fabregas' subsequent free-kick was calmly volleyed into the net by the unmarked Alonso.
The game was played at a relatively sedate pace after the interval with the result decided but Hazard added his second just after the hour mark, converting brilliantly from Fabregas' lofted pass.
West Brom made two changes from the team that lost to Huddersfield with Salomon Rondon replacing Hal Robson-Kanu in the starting line-up and Matty Phillips coming in for Allan Nyom.
Chelsea kept faith with the side that saw off Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, although David Luiz did return to the bench where 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu was among the substitutes.
Conte had the luxury of removing both men soon after as Chelsea coasted to their fourth consecutive Premier League win of the season.
But for Pulis, with owner Guochuan Lai in attendance for the first time since the opening weekend win over Bournemouth, the pressure is building.
- The last two occasions of West Brom conceding three first half goals have both been against Chelsea - they also conceded three in the first half in their 3-2 defeat in August 2015.
- This was the joint-heaviest home Premier League defeat for Tony Pulis, matching his 4-0 defeats to Man City (October 2016) and Chelsea (January 2013 as Stoke boss).
- Alvaro Morata has had a hand in 12 goals in his first 11 Premier League games for Chelsea (eight goals, four assists), more than any other Blues player in the competition's history.
- Since the start of last season, Marcos Alonso has scored more Premier League goals (9) than any other defender.
Tony Pulis: "The big thing is, this is not about me, the chairman, the owners or anything like that, it's about what is the right decision. This club will be here well past when you've gone, I've gone, it's about doing the right thing for the football club."
Antonio Conte: "We must be pleased because the performance was positive, it was very good. From the start of the game we showed great focus and great concentration. Do not forget that [although] this game that became easy, last season we struggled a lot in both games against West Bromwich. I have watched a lot of games of West Bromwich this season and I think they deserved more points, but today I think we outplayed West Bromwich."
Man of the match - Eden Hazard
Hazard really seems to be enjoying playing in a more central role and did brilliantly for Morata's opener before adding two himself. He was clearly the outstanding player on the pitch and in this form the prospect of Hazard firing Chelsea right back into the title race cannot be ruled out.
West Brom travel to Wembley to face Tottenham next weekend, while Chelsea have a midweek trip to Azerbaijan to take on Qarabag in the Champions League on Wednesday before facing Liverpool at Anfield next week.