New signing Pedro showed Manchester United and Louis van Gaal what they were missing as he inspired Chelsea to victory in a game that had a red card, a penalty save and five goals.
As ever referee Mark Clattenburg wanted to be the centre of attention when he incorrectly sent off John Terry less than ten minutes in the second half for a foul on Salomon Rondon. The West Brom striker looked to have slipped and was going down anyway before going shoulder to shoulder with Terry. There may have been a little tug by Terry but not enough for a straight red.
Until Terry’s sending off Chelsea looked to be comfortable in the match after a rocky start ,which saw Nemanja Matic give away a penalty inside the first 15 minutes when he brought down Callum McManaman in the box after leaving his leg out.
James Morrison stepped up to take the penalty against the returning Thibaut Courtois, who was back in after his suspension for his sending off against Swansea on the opening day. Morrison fired his shot straight down the middle but the big Belgian was able to get a trailing leg to it and save it.
But it was Chelsea who took the lead just six minutes later through new signing Pedro, you know just to remind Manchester United and Louis van Gaal what they were missing out on.
Pedro played a lovely little one-two with Eden Hazard to get himself running into the area when he was then able to get a shot away which ended up in the bottom corner after a slight touch off Jonas Olsson.
Chelsea then doubled their lead ten minutes later through Diego Costa, with Pedro again playing a major role in the goal. A quick counter from a West Brom corner saw Willian playing the ball out to Pedro in the right channel, who then fired a shot across goal that Costa ran onto and poked home.
West Brom then pulled one back through a fantastic shot by Morrison on the edge of the area after Rondon kept the ball in from a Chris Brunt cross with an acrobatic volley that set him up.
Cesar ‘Dave’ Azpilicueta then scored his first Premier League goal to restore Chelsea’s two goal lead a couple of minutes before halftime. Cesc Fabregas chipped the ball up to Costa who was able to chest the ball down to Azpilicueta, as Gareth McAuley pulled him down inside the box, who hit it first time into the bottom left-hand corner.
West Brom closed the gap to just one goal five minutes after Terry’s sending off, when McManaman crossed the ball in and Morrison was able to flick it into the far corner for his second of the match.
The final half an hour saw Chelsea more concerned with trying to hang onto their narrow lead as West Brom piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser, coming close a few times.
It’s still worrying times for Chelsea despite the win. They still looked sluggish and poor defensively. Branislav Ivanovic again looked poor, while Nemanja Matic again didn’t look near the player he was last season.
However it was a great debut for Pedro who got on the scoresheet, got an assist (officially it’s been taken away from him but we are counting it) and he could have got two more had it not been for Willian or Radamel Falcao putting their chances wide.
Pedro looks like he will cause a lot of problems down Chelsea’s right hand side, but there is still plenty of work for Jose Mourinho to do before the transfer window closes. Another central midfielder and another defender need to be at the top of his list.
Chelsea needed three points today, a win to get their season truly up and running, which they did. They got that.
West Brom meanwhile put in a good performance, with McManaman and Morrison their standout performers. They had no Saido Berahino today, if he is off they will need to replace him. Rodon was isolated a lot, until Chelsea wait down to 10 men, which is something they will need to address also. They need to get more service to him, if they can he will be a handful for defences.
West Brom have had Man City and Chelsea at home and Watford away in their opening three games, which is a tough start. They have Stoke away next week, another tough game, but they should go into the game with more confidence, after all they got hammered by Man City in their opening game.