5 Things Learned: West Brom 3-3 Chelsea | Premier League
Chelsea grabbed a late equaliser to ensure a point away to Slaven Bilic's West Brom.
The Baggies took the lead just four minutes into the match after Marcos Alonso's poor head was capitalised upon with Callum Robinson eventually firing West Brom in front. Just 21 minutes later, they doubled their lead. Thiago Silva was dispossessed at the back which lead to Robinson getting his second of the game. Poor defending from the corner allowed Kyle Bartley to tap in a third before half time.
At half time, Frank Lampard decided to sacrifice Mateo Kovacic and Marcos Alonso and bring on Callum Hudson-Odoi and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Just ten minutes into the second half, Chelsea pulled one back. Mason Mounts superb strike beat keeper Sam Johnstone. Hudson-Odoi then pulled another goal back in the 70th minute to set up a nervy final twenty minutes for West Brom. With just two minutes left on the clock, the Blues equalised thanks to a close-range finish from Tammy Abraham.
Here's our five things that we learned from Chelsea's draw:
1. Poor decision making from Frank Lampard
It's fair to say that the manager ultimately got lucky, with Chelsea grabbing a last-minute equaliser. However, prior to bringing on Olivier Giroud, the Blues were comfortable and looked like they were going to go on and grab a third in no time. That was until Frank changed the system to what appeared to be a 3-5-2 formation, with Thiago Silva being taken off for the Frenchman. The Blues eventually got the third but questions should be raised as to what Lampard was thinking when it came to his tactical approach towards the end of the half.
2. Marcos Alonso disappointing once again
With Ben Chilwell being rested for one more week, this was Alonso's opportunity to give Lampard a selection headache going into the future games. Unfortunately, he did quite the opposite. The Spaniard was arguably at fault for the first goal and looked unconvincing until he was substituted at half time for Azpilicueta. Predominantly a wing-back, Alonso struggled throughout the entirety of the half and showed why he shouldn't be starting when Chilwell is back fully fit.
3. Was it too soon for Thiago Silva?
Frank handed the Brazilian his first Premier League start this evening. Not only that, but he was also named as the captain as Azpilicueta started the game on the bench. There was a lot of pressure put on Silva to perform. Thiago was at fault for the second goal, and he didn't really show any signs of redemption after that. Silva was substituted midway through the second half for Olivier Giroud. Personally, Fikayo Tomori should've started as it was far too soon for the Brazilian. Tomori impressed against Liverpool and Barnsley which would've allowed Silva more time to get fully match fit.
4. Is there a 'Plan B?'
Chelsea's first-half struggles were apparent. The Blues were in sixes and sevens as soon as the third went in. There was a lack of leadership in what was an abysmal first 45. West Brom were having a lot of fun when on the attack, scoring all three of their shots on target. Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante were being overrun as Chelsea slacked in the centre of the pitch. You could argue that Lampard was panicking when taking off Silva for Giroud as there was no sign of a clear structure. The Blues were incredibly lucky to grab a third as there was no sign of a clear 'Plan B.' To win titles, there needs to be organisation and a clear gameplan through to 'Plan C' at least.
5. Cobham's youth dig the seniors out of trouble
If it hadn't of been for the introduction of Callum Hudson-Odoi, then who knows if Chelsea would've drawn the game. Hudson-Odoi was arguably a catalyst in Chelsea's attack and complimented the forward line very well. Mason Mount proved why he should be playing week in, week out as his goal was the start of the comeback. Finally, Tammy Abraham was at the right place, at the right time to bag the equaliser and send Chelsea away with a point. Those three men were arguably the positives in what was a poor display from Frank Lampard's men.
Next up for Frank Lampard's side is Tottenham away on Tuesday evening, in the Carabao Cup, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.