Five-goal shocker 'A wake-up call'

Tuchel's 14-game unbeaten Blues start ends after 'quality goals' from Big Sam's strugglers

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is horrified after Matheus Pereira scores for the second time in first-half stoppage time to put West Brom ahead. The visitors ran out 5-2 winners at Stamford Bridge - the first time in 10 years the Blues have let in
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is horrified after Matheus Pereira scores for the second time in first-half stoppage time to put West Brom ahead. The visitors ran out 5-2 winners at Stamford Bridge - the first time in 10 years the Blues have let in five at home in the league. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Chelsea 2
West Brom 5

LONDON • Manager Thomas Tuchel suffered the first defeat of his Chelsea reign as struggling West Bromwich Albion took advantage of Thiago Silva's red card to earn a stunning 5-2 win in the Premier League yesterday.

Tuchel had overseen a 14-match unbeaten run in all competitions since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard in January. But that impressive start came to an embarrassing end at Stamford Bridge.

Christian Pulisic put Chelsea ahead early in the first half, only for Brazil defender Thiago to get his marching orders moments later for a second booking. That proved the turning point as Albion's Matheus Pereira struck twice in first-half stoppage time.

Mbaye Diagne grabbed the fourth for West Brom, who had not scored in more than a month, and Callum Robinson netted twice to leave Tuchel stunned. Mason Mount's reply was no consolation as Chelsea's bid to qualify for next season's Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League suffered a significant blow.

The Blues, beaten for the first time in 10 league games, remain fourth, but both West Ham and Tottenham would go above them if they win tomorrow and today respectively.

"What could go wrong went wrong after the red card. Every shot was a goal from them," said Tuchel, whose side conceded only twice during their undefeated run - none at home.

Chelsea were punished for some dismal defending in first-half stoppage-time. A long punt forward by goalkeeper Sam Johnstone should have been dealt with easily, but Kurt Zouma allowed Pereira to run behind him and guide a superb lob over the exposed Edouard Mendy.

The Blues fell behind with virtually the last kick of the half. Reece James surrendered possession and Diagne found Pereira, who danced through the shambolic Chelsea defence before guiding cool low finish past Mendy from 10 metres.

A flowing move from the visitors in the 63rd minute ended with Robinson running onto Darnell Furlong's cross to smash a superb volley past Mendy from 12 metres.

Five minutes later, a West Brom break that featured a flurry of deft passes resulted in Diagne slotting home.

Mount reduced the deficit with a close-range finish in the 71st minute. But Tuchel's misery was complete in stoppage time when Robinson struck again with a dinked finish.

For the first time since 2011 against Arsenal, Chelsea surrendered five goals at home in the league. It was the worst possible preparation for their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Porto on Wednesday.

"It's important we digest it. I did not see it coming, now we have to take our responsibilities - me included - and shake it off," Tuchel said. "It's a wake-up call. We will get the right response."

West Brom remained second bottom on 21 points despite their first league win at Chelsea since 1978.

"Our goals were all quality goals - not just the finishing but the build-ups," Baggies boss Sam Allardyce said. "It's just a bit of a shame we didn't show that quality in some other games. But this still gives us a bit of hope (in avoiding relegation)."

Bottom dwellers Sheffield United, however, look Championship-bound after losing 2-1 to Leeds at Elland Road yesterday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 04, 2021, with the headline 'Five-goal shocker 'A wake-up call''. Subscribe