Drogba inspires Chelsea win
Full-back's mistake leads to Blues equaliser
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: April 16, 2011 5:58pm
Equaliser: Drogba celebrates his close-range finish with Essien after a Shorey mistake
Didier Drogba was instrumental in a Chelsea comeback following Peter Odemwingie's opener for West Bromwich Albion.
The Ivory Coast international started ahead of £50million man Fernando Torres and the 33-year-old made sure Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti knew what he was missing after he got on the scoresheet and had a hand in Chelsea's two other first-half goals.
However it was the home side who stunned the visitors when Odemwingie's smart finish over Petr Cech came against the run of play with 17 minutes on the clock.
Nicky Shorey made a hash of a back-post clearance to gift Drogba the ball and the striker could do little else but score as he netted from close range to then draw Chelsea level.
Drogba then saw his long-range effort parried into the path of Salomon Kalou who drilled the ball into the back of the net for Chelsea's second.
Chelsea's frontman all but killed off a Baggies comeback in an entertaining first half as he nicked the ball off Odemwingie's toes and released Florent Malouda who pulled the ball back for Frank Lampard to side-foot home on the brink of half-time.
Kalou saw an effort come back off the crossbar and both second-half substitute Torres and Malouda did put the ball in the back of the net however they were deemed offside.
Chris Brunt was unlucky with a couple of strikes and could have netted with a late header as Albion upped the tempo with the introduction of tricky forward Carlos Vela, however Ancelotti's men took the three points back to London.
Despite the Blues manager's future looking uncertain after a faltering Premier League defence, Chelsea had, before the West Brom victory, lost just one of their last 10 matches.
And it is a similar run of form shared by the Baggies who in their last seven games remained unbeaten before the Chelsea visit.
Ancelotti rested an under-fire Torres, who before the kick-off was without a goal in 11 games for his new club, in favour of Drogba. Other changes from the midweek defeat to Manchester United included John Obi Mikel and David Luiz coming in for the injured Alex and Ramires. Kalou also started ahead of Nicolas Anelka.
Roy Hodgson made just one change with James Morrison coming in for forward Simon Cox.
A shock was likely to be on the cards at The Hawthorns as Albion started the game brightly and their opener was richly deserved.
Following a move which involved Youssouf Mulumbu and James Morrison, the Scotsman picked out Jerome Thomas who laid it on for Odemwingie with the help of a slight ricochet off John Terry, the pass still found its intended target who sprinted into the area before deftly dinking the ball over the advancing Cech for his 12th of the season.
That goal set a new club record, beating the previous best by Rob Earnshaw six years earlier, and also stunned a Blues side which had enjoyed rich spells of possession.
However the home side's lead lasted only a few minutes as Scott Carson failed to deal with a low cross into the six-yard box from the left and an attempted clearance from Shorey at the far post fell into the path of Drogba who rifled home for his 13th goal of the season.
Four minutes later Chelsea turned the game on its head with another helping hand from Carson. The former England international could only parry Drogba's long-range effort into Kalou who dragged his shot into the far corner.
On the stroke of half-time any hope amongst the home fans of a revival was curtailed as Chelsea put the points to bed when Lampard netted from the edge of the area.
Again the move was inspired by Drogba who cut short a promising Albion move and sprayed a searching ball down the left for Malouda to chase who played in Lampard and he drilled the ball past Carson.
More goals should have followed in the second half, initially seven minutes after the restart when Drogba spotted Carson off his line, only for a powerful dipping shot from 35 yards to land on the roof of the net.
Lampard, Kalou and Malouda all had chances to add to the tally but to no avail as the Baggies struggled to retain possession and failed to support Odemwingie on several occasions.
Vela came on to great effect for West Brom in place of Morrison, his pace made Chelsea's back four work more than they had all game in what was one-way traffic for large periods.
Torres came on late, however looked confidence-stricken as he found himself offside on many occasions and his touch was lacking, adding to a goalless drought of 871 minutes.
The Spain international did have the ball in the net, however, after rounding Carson but it was denied by the offside flag.A mis-kick from 15 yards soon after caused great mirth amongst the home fans, highlighting Torres' woeful time in front of goal at present as Chelsea saw out the game in comfortable fashion.
|West Bromwich Albion||Team Statistics||Chelsea|
|1||1st Half Goals||3|
|2||Shots on Target||8|
|8||Shots off Target||11|
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Bromwich Albion||38||49|
|10||West Ham United||38||46|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||25|