Blues hit Baggies for six
Chelsea began the defence of their Premier League title with a crushing 6-0 victory over West Brom.
Last Updated: 14/08/10 10:09pm
Chelsea began the defence of their Premier League title with a crushing 6-0 victory over West Brom as Didier Drogba scored a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge.
The Baggies looked bright in possession throughout but were taught a harsh lesson about life in the top flight as Chelsea ruthlessly capitalised on defensive mistakes.
Scott Carson was the first to falter as he spilled a Drogba free-kick after just six minutes, allowing John Obi Mikel to turn the ball back to Florent Malouda for the simplest of finishes.
Drogba then slammed another free-kick straight through a West Brom wall that had parted embarrassingly to double Chelsea's advantage on the stroke of half-time.
The Ivory Coast striker made it 3-0 from close range in the 55th minute after West Brom had failed to clear a corner, before Frank Lampard slotted home following a neat move.
A deflected effort gave Drogba his treble and Malouda then completed the scoring just before the final whistle after rounding Carson.
Chelsea got off to a flying start when they took the lead after only six minutes.
Malouda was tripped by Pablo Ibanez on the edge of the West Brom box.
Keeper Scott Carson dropped Drogba's free-kick straight to Mikel, whose follow-up effort was blocked. The ball then dropped straight to Malouda, who could not miss.
The champions were in full flow, with Ashley Cole whipping a low ball across the six-yard box after another surge down the left.
However, the conditions worsened, and fit again Chelsea keeper Petr Cech had to be at full stretch to touch away Graham Dorrans' deflected effort.
The visitors, who finished second behind Newcastle in the Championship last season, continued to try to take the game to Chelsea, putting together some promising passing moves.
Czech striker Roman Bednar smashed a fine finish into the roof of the Chelsea net on 18 minutes, but the offside flag had already gone up for what looked a marginal decision.
Cole then drew some predictable jeers from the travelling fans when he went to take a throw-in - but the boo-boys were soon drowned out by the home faithful showing the England defender their full support.
After a drop in tempo, Chelsea slowly started to find their rhythm again. Gabriel Tamas fouled Drogba, giving Chelsea another chance to deliver a ball into the West Brom box.
Lampard struck his 20-yard shot well and Carson parried, but this time Malouda could not keep his follow-up on target as he sent a looping header over.
It was, though, 2-0 just before the break. Youssouf Mulumbu tripped Michael Essien and this time Drogba smashed his free-kick through the wall and into the bottom corner.
The conditions improved for the second half, allowing both teams to pass the ball quickly.
On 53 minutes, Scotland midfielder Dorrans chipped a free-kick over the wall, but the ball dropped onto the top of the net.
Chelsea then moved 3-0 ahead when Drogba bundled in his second. John Terry flicked Malouda's inswinging corner goalwards and Mulumbu hacked it off the line, but the ball was not cleared and Drogba, who won the Golden Boot with 29 goals last season, was alert to smash it in from close range.
Lampard slotted in a fourth on 63 minutes after a clever exchange between Nicolas Anelka and Cole down the left.
The England midfielder, who had been carrying a slight ankle problem, was then replaced by Yossi Benayoun, as the Israeli made his Premier League debut following a summer move from Liverpool - who were described as a "small club somewhere north of the M25" by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck in his programme notes, hitting back at comments by Joe Cole following his free transfer summer move to Anfield.
On 68 minutes, Drogba completed his hat-trick with a 20-yard effort which cannoned off Tamas and flew into the bottom corner past a wrong-footed Carson.
The Ivory Coast striker was then given a well-deserved break when he was replaced by countryman Salomon Kalou.
Malouda whipped a 20-yard free-kick over the wall and bar, while Alex flicked a rising shot from Chris Brunt over the bar to deny the visitors a late consolation.
And the hosts were still not finished as Malouda rounded Carson to knock in number six off the post in the final minute.
|Chelsea||Team Statistics||West Bromwich Albion|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|12||Shots on Target||1|
|5||Shots off Target||5|