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[VIDEO] West Brom 1-3 Chelsea: Drogba shows Torres how it’s done as Chelsea come from behind

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Chelsea bounced back from their mid-week disappointment with a comfortable victory at West Bromich Albion, coming from behind to win 3-1.  Didier Drogba inspired the Blues’ comeback after Peter Odemwinge had put the home side in front inside 17 minutes.  The Ivorian, who started in place of the misfiring Fernando Torres, ensured that the Baggies did not keep hold of that lead for long when a defensive lapse gave him a simple tap in. The powerful forward capped off an inspiring performance as he had a hand in Chelsea’s other goals; Salomon Kalou and Frank Lampard offered routine goalscoring opportunities which they snatched with both hands.

It was the ideal tonic for all concerned at Stamford Bridge following the disappointment of exiting the Champions League to Manchester United on Tuesday.  The Blues miss out on European club football’s greatest prize for another season; the Abramovich obsession due to frustrate for at least another year.  A trip to the Hawthorns threw up a potentially tricky encounter for Carlo Ancelotti- West Brom enjoying a revival under new manager Roy Hodgson, and having dispatched of his former employers Liverpool recently and throwing more weight to their survival aspirations with an excellent away win at Sunderland, the bookmakers were offering good odds for another upset.

And with 17 minutes on the clock it seemed as though the Baggies’ seven game unbeaten run was on course to be extended.  The home side started brightly, recognising their best chance of success against the Premier League champions was to gain the lead before they could find their rhythm.  Jerome Thomas set the ball up for Odemwingie with a neat pass who, running onto the pass charged into the Chelsea area and deftly lifted the ball over the onrushing Petr Cech.  It marked a disastrous start for the Londoners who would now need to come from behind to retain their impressive league form.

And almost instantly Ancelloti got the response he had been desperately looking for.  Drogba who had been reinstated into the starting XI at the expense of the insipid Torres replied on 22 minutes through a moment of misfortune for West Brom.  If Hodgson’s initial game plan was to take the game to a wounded Chelsea, his orders amongst that plan would surely have been “keep things tight”.  Nicky Shorey will be told to pay more attention to boss’ orders next time as his sliced clearance fell kindly to Drogba who could do little else but find the back of Scott Carson’s net.

With the game now quickly back on level terms Chelsea could begin afresh and they started to find fluency in their attacking play whilst more than adequately quelling any attacking ambition of West Brom.  Four minutes after his eqauliser, Drogba was again tormenting the Baggies’ defence and his bold and confident play ensured it was Chelsea who took the lead.  His long distance strike appeared to be too much for ‘keeper Carson who must burden the blame for his sides conceding.  The ex-England stopper could only divert the ball into the path of the lurking Kalou who drilled low and hard to find the net.

It was a deserved second goal infused with misfortune, and you cannot help but feel sorry for Torres that he was left on the bench for this one- the Spaniard had he been on the pitch would have gobbled that one down like a plump kid finding Easter Eggs before Sunday.  But after Tuesday’s crushing defeat at Old Trafford, Ancelloti will just be relieved to see them go in and before the half had a chance to draw to a close, Chelsea had effectively killed the game with a third.

A typical Lampard long range effort was tipped over by Carson moments before he extended his sides lead.  Drogba again played his part; breaking up a West Brom move before it had chance to build momentum.  The impressive Ivorian played in Florent Malouda on the left hand side who kindly pulled back for the timely arrival of Lampard.  Like the two before it it seemed harder for Lampard to miss and the England man dutifully converted to put Chelsea in a commanding position.

The second half should have heralded more Chelsea goals but for a much improved Carson who did well to keep out Malouda and breathed a sigh of relief to see a Kalou effort rebound off his crossbar.  Whilst Drogba was leading the Chelsea line in his usual robust style, West Brom’s Odemwingie struggled as the lone front man.  Carlos Vela was eventually introduced on 72 minutes and the Mexican looked the most likely to score as his running became an inconvenient nuisance to John Terry and David Luiz.

But it was not to be for the Baggies and substitute Torres appeared to pile more misery onto the Midlands men after he was brought on for the last 10 minutes.  The Spaniard looked to have sprung the offside trap and in doing so appeared to have bagged his long awaited first goal in Chelsea colours.  Unfortunately Torres had made his run a fraction too soon and as he rounded Carson and steered the ball goal wards, he seemed aware of the linesman’s arm being raised; the red and yellow flag tormenting Torres as a red rag sends the bull into rage.

The victory was well earned and warmly welcomed by Ancelotti and his players, demonstrating the pain of Tuesday night had not followed them home.  It also keeps them in sight of league leaders Man United.  An eight point advantage may seem like too much at these closing stages, but Chelsea at least showed that they are keeping up with the chasing pack, and the performance of Drogba showed two things: that the Ivorian is still the top dog and it also showed Torres what he must do to wrestle that title from him.

Watch goals from WBA 1-3 Chelsea here.

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