Chelsea 1-0 West Brom: Superb Costa strike sees Blues return to the summit

first_img Chelsea striker Diego Costa celebrates scoring against West Brom 1 Chelsea returned to the top of the Premier League table as Diego Costa’s superb goal gave them a 1-0 win in a tough encounter with West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge.The Blues were made to work for the three points, with Tony Pulis’ Baggies restricting them to few clear-cut chances, while Salomon Rondon could have scored at the other end.But, in the end, it was the hustle and bustle of bruising centre forward Costa which earned them the victory, as he stole the ball from Gareth McAuley before rifling the ball home on the angle.West Brom’s crossing caused the Chelsea defence problems in the early stages, with Rondon steering a header straight into Thibaut Courtois’ gloves, while moments later Chris Brunt sent the ball over the bar.The hosts appeared to angle their attacks to flanks as they looked to get behind the solid Baggies backline, with Victor Moses a revitalised and willing runner on the right and Eden Hazard attempting to trick his way into a shooting position from the opposite side.A curled Brunt effort from range had Courtois diving to cover his goal, only to watch it whistle wide of the upright, but the Northern Irishman was soon booked for a tackle on Costa.With 25 minutes on the clock, David Luiz was left apologising to his team-mates as Rondon robbed him just outside the box but, thankfully for the Brazilian, Rondon’s shot just trickled past the post.Chelsea then almost went ahead, fortuitously, as N’Golo Kante’s shot rapped into the legs of Pedro and bobbled just wide with Ben Foster beaten.Luiz then tested Foster fully for the first time with a low and dipping free-kick, which was Chelsea’s only shot on target in the opening period of action as they were stifled by West Brom’s compact defensive unit.After the break, the two teams traded cautions with Kante and Craig Dawson having their names taken down for clumsy challenges.A third Luiz free-kick deflected off his own team-mate and forced Foster to get his fingertips on the ball but, to their chagrin, a corner wasn’t given.While West Brom’s defensive diligence stifled the Blues, they did make dangerous attacking forays with Rondon again troubling Courtois, while a stunning Gary Cahill interception stopped Darren Fletcher from getting a close range shot on goal.But as hard as the Baggies tried, they just couldn’t hold out and with 14 minutes to go Chelsea broke the deadlock.Costa hustled Gareth McAuley on the right flank and, after winning the ball, he skipped into the box and fired a strike high into the top far corner from a tight angle.Chelsea nearly added a second but, following a Costa cut-back, Cesc Fabregas couldn’t steer the ball on target, while being challenged for the ball.And, although they gave it their best, Pulis’ men couldn’t quite muster a chance in added time to test Courtois.last_img

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