Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten run at home in the Premier League in charge of Chelsea has been stretched to 66 games after Eden Hazard’s late controversial penalty saved the Blues’ blushes at home against West Brom.
The Baggies looked like they were heading for a famous 2-1 win courtesy of a great second half comeback but Hazard — who had been disciplined by Mourinho in midweek for traveling abroad without the clubs permission and losing his passport — scored a 94th minute equalizer for the Blues to break the Baggies hearts in controversial fashion.
Samuel Eto’o had given the Blues an early lead but Shane Long and Stephane Sessegnon scored in the second half to make Chelsea sweat as West Brom aimed for yet another big scalp away from home after previously beating Manchester United 2-1 in September.
Former Chelsea player and assistant manager Steve Clarke will be devastated his West Brom side conceded the late goal after Steven Reid was said to have brought down Ramires in the box, contact looked minimal. That late goal cost Clarke’s side a famous win but he will take heart from the spirited performance in the 2-2 draw.
Chelsea had over 70 percent of the possession and out shot the visitors 17-11 but the Baggies looked clinical and dangerous on the break. With the point Chelsea are in fourth and just four points behind leaders Arsenal, while West Brom sit in ninth.
Chelsea piled on the pressure in the early stages as the Blues began their onslaught on West Brom’s goal from the offset.
For much of the opening stages the Blues kept attacking the Baggies as the away side were camped in their own half. Chris Brunt had a speculative effort after 10 minutes that he dragged wide, but apart from that West Brom were limited to sporadic breaks forward.
The Blues tried hard to break a stingy WBA team down but found it extremely difficult to get in behind the visitors defense.
In the 29th minute Oscar sent a curling free kick towards the top corner which forced Boaz Myhill into tipping the ball over the bar for a corner.
For the rest of the first half West Brom sat in and frustrated Chelsea, but as the interval approached
After the half West Brom pushed forward and Shane Long hit the post in the 55th minute after a great cross from Morgan Amalfitano found him unmarked. The Baggies were threatening to equalize as Stamford Bridge became a bag of nerves.
In the 59th minute Long did head home as a West Brom corner caused trouble when Gareth McAuley headed straight at Petr Cech and Republic of Ireland international Long reacted first to make it 1-1.
Cue Demba Ba coming off the bench for Chelsea as Mourinho aimed to throw the kitchen sink at West Brom. But it was the away side who struck a devastating blow, as Stephane Sessegnon’s low drive somehow beat Cech and sent the small band of West Brom fans into raptures.
The shock was well and truly on.
Juan Mata and John Obi Mikel arrived to try and break down the Baggies staunch defensive unit which saw Clarke’s side put up two solid banks of four in front of their penalty box.
Chelsea thought they’d found an equalizer in the 76th minute as Myhill twice denied Branislav Ivanovic and then Mata from close-range after constant pressure from the West London club.
Then in the 79th minute Willian head over from six-yards with the entire goal at his beg and mercy. Big miss from the Brazilian as the Baggies ran the clock down.
John Terry was launched forward as an emergency forward as the Blues piled forward and in the 94th minute they were handed a very fortunate looking penalty as Ramires surged into the box and was adjudged to have been fouled by Reid. Referee Andre Marriner will be lambasted for awarding the penalty as West Brom couldn’t believe their big victory had been snatched away from them right at the death.
After plenty of interruptions and protests from West Brom’s players, Hazard stepped up to slot the penalty home as a huge sigh of relief was let out from the home fans at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho’s remarkable record is intact… just.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta (Mikel, 73); Ramires, Lampard (Ba, 64); Hazard, Oscar (Mata, 73), Willian; Eto’o
West Bromwich Albion: Myhill; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Yacob, Mulumbu; Amalfitano (Popov, 89), Sessegnon (Morrison, 81), Brunt; Long (Anichebe, 79).