John Terry dismissed as Pedro stars in thrilling Chelsea win over West Brom
Chelsea began their season in earnest, needing Thibaut Courtois to save a penalty before edging an entertaining match at The Hawthorns 3-2 to consign West Bromwich Albion to the Premier League basement.
Jose Mourinho’s men stopped the rot after three games, including the Community Shield, without a win, and are 3/1 with Coral to retain their title.
Responding to his side’s 3-0 capitulation at the Etihad last time out, Mourinho made a move in the transfer market, persuading Pedro to join from Barcelona and how this paid off against Tony Pulis’ side.
Deployed on the right hand side of an attacking triumvirate, behind Diego Costa, the Spaniard hit the ground running. Pedro’s puppetry pulled Pulis’ defence all over the place in the first half, evidenced from his opening strike after neat footwork and an exchange with Eden Hazard.
However, Thibaut Courtois first had to save a James Morrison penalty, after the midfielder had first queue-jumped Chris Brunt to take responsibility.
Pedro was involved in the second, 15 minutes after the opener, again following great work, his miscued strike at goal invited Costa to turn in from close range for his first goal of the season.
Then it was the turn of the hosts to respond. Morrison making up for his earlier error from 12-yards out to dispatch from a similar distance. In what was a breathtaking first half, though, Cesar Azpilicueta netted his first Premier League goal to restore the margin to two goals, courtesy of well-taken strike.
Drama continued following the interval, with the Baggies mounting a counter-attack, John Terry was caught out by Jose Rondon’s pace resulting in Chelsea’s captain doing just enough to bring him down on the edge of the penalty area earning him a red card.
What followed was a pulsating 30 minutes, as Mourinho made one tactical switch after another to try to kill the game, while Pulis took the initiative bringing on Rickie Lambert as the Baggies switched to two up front.
Morrison then clawed one back for the West Midlands outfit, however, it wasn’t enough in the end, as Chelsea held on for the first win of their Premier League season. The slow burners still trail Man City by five points in the title race, though.