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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Pulisic’s first Chelsea goal for Tuchel only positive from shock loss

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Chelsea‘s surprise 5-2 defeat by West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge was not only a humiliating home loss but also a big opportunity missed to strengthen their position in the Premier League’s top four.

Christian Pulisic was able to put the Blues ahead in the 27th minute, after Marcos Alonso‘s free kick had been tipped onto the post, but things became complicated just moments later when Thiago Silva was sent off for two yellow cards.

That feeling was only accentuated when Matheus Pereira got an equaliser for the Baggies, then went on to add a second a couple of minutes later. Callum Robinson enjoyed himself against Chelsea once again and scored the away side’s third of the game, before Mbaye Diagne added a fourth.

Mason Mount was able to pull the game back to 4-2, giving Chelsea a glimmer of hope, but Robinson was able to make it five for West Brom to compound Chelsea’s misery. This loss means fellow Londoners West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur could potentially overtake them in the table this weekend.

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Positives

The Blues had plenty of possession in the early stages and were able to dictate the pace of the game at times. Being able to score twice is an encouraging sign, considering Chelsea haven’t been prolific scorers in recent times.

Negatives

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel will be furious with this performance. Chelsea were so sloppy in the opening stages, with plenty of passes being mishit as well as questionable decisions made on the ball. Silva getting himself sent off definitely didn’t help things, but even so, Chelsea’s defending was criminal at times. Chelsea simply didn’t offer enough and will be left feeling embarrassed after this performance and result.

Manager rating out of 10

4 — When Silva was sent off, Tuchel had a decision to make around whether to keep his attacking players on or attempt to see the game out defensively. He chose the latter, only to see his side concede twice before half-time. There will be questions around the German‘s decision to stick to a back three, especially as the added numbers didn’t exactly do much to keep West Brom out.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Those introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Edouard Mendy, 5 — Made some decent saves, but there wasn’t too much he could have done to prevent most of West Brom’s five goals.

DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 5 — Drew a foul from Diagne to get the forward booked and battled the West Brom attackers throughout, even if he wasn’t always able to come out on top.

DF Thiago Silva, 3 — Booked for an early foul on Pereira and got himself sent off with a second booking while trying to block an effort from Okay Yokuslu before the half-hour mark. There were clear signs of rust, and some passes were misplaced.

DF Kurt Zouma, 4 — Should have done more to attack the loose ball for the equaliser and showed such a lack of awareness as Robinson ran off his shoulder for the game’s final goal. Failed to hit the target with some good chances in the opposition box.

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Janusz Michallik slams Thiago Silva and Chelsea after a heavy defeat to West Brom.

MF Reece James, 5 — Looked threatening going forward at times, but his silly pass put his teammates in trouble ahead of Pereira’s second of the game.

MF Jorginho, 4 — Lost the ball in the build-up to both of Silva’s yellow cards, while the Italian should have put his head through the ball in the lead-up to Pereira’s second, rather than attempting to flick it. His ball behind the defence started the move for Chelsea’s second.

MF Mateo Kovacic, 5 — Had some moments of sloppiness, but always threatened when driving forward with the ball, even if those runs didn’t result in a goal. Booked for a foul on Robinson.

MF Marcos Alonso, 6 — His free kick effort coming off the post resulted in the opener, and it was his ball in that led to Chelsea’s second. The Spaniard made things far too easy for Pereira’s second, though.

FW Hakim Ziyech, 5 — There was a mixture of quality technique and sloppy passes from the Moroccan, who will feel hard done by after being sacrificed following Silva’s dismissal.

FW Timo Werner, 6 — Put in a lot effort with his runs down the channels but struggled to make things happen for large periods. Selflessly assisted Mount for Chelsea’s second.

FW Christian Pulisic, 6 — Showed a good predatory instinct to open the scoring with his first Chelsea goal under Tuchel and had bright moments, but struggled to regularly get into the game before being taken off at half-time with what appeared to be another injury.

Substitutes

Andreas Christensen, 5 — Replaced Ziyech in the 33rd minute and allowed Pereira to run off his shoulder for the equaliser.

Mason Mount, 6 — Replaced Pulisic at half-time and was one of Chelsea’s more creative players, scoring Chelsea’s second, but could have done better in tracking Robinson’s run for the third.

Kai Havertz, N/A — Replaced Jorginho in the 73rd minute and had a few moments when he threatened to open up the West Brom defence, but the away side stood strong.

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