It’s Premier League match time again at Stamford Bridge, when Chelsea take on West Brom, on Saturday, August 20.
When Vilas-Boas replaced Ancelotti at Chelsea’s helm, nothing would have prepared the Portuguese manager who led Porto to twin successes, in the league and the Europa Cup last, year, to the kind of fight Stoke City would put up when Chelsea toured the potteries on Sunday, August 14.
Tony Pulis’s men subjected the Chelsea defence to intense pressure in the first half and it was only after the interval that the Blues came into their own, albeit with no goals to show for it. Nicolas Anelka came closest to scoring for the former champions when his shot was tipped onto the crossbar by Potters’ keeper Begovic.
Terry was a bulwark in defence and that’s a positive Chelsea would have taken away from the game, and Stoke’s attacking moves were effectively nullified even as Chelsea upped the ante in the second half. Vials-Boas kept his faith with Torres, ahead of Drogba and Anelka, and the striker who has had just the one goal to show for 19 appearances since his £50m January transfer, gave a glimpse of what he could achieve, given adequate support, on the pitch.
West Brom were all at sea, in the first half hour of their match against Manchester United, on Sunday, August 14, and after Wayne Rooney’s strike on 13 minutes and a missed effort by Nani, a couple of minutes later, there appeared to be only one possible winner.
But after Long made the most of a judgement error from United keeper De Gea to put his side level on 37 minutes, Albion kept the Red Devils at bay fro the best part of 45 minutes before Reid deflected an Ashley Young effort into his own goal to give United their winning goal.
Barring that fortuitous second goal for United, West Brom nearly pulled off a creditable draw after being put to the sword, early in the game. Roy Hodgson is apparently enjoying his stint with West Brom after being shown the door at Anfield in the last season, and the manager was justifiably pleased with his squad’s fighting display, against the champions.
Even though a late surge from West Brom came to nought, the positive intent was there, and Albion will be buoyed by the performance in their campaign opener, ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge. Long, Brunt and Tchoyi were all impressive in attack, and the United defence found Tchoyi in particular a handful, during brief flurries. West Brom will need more of the same if they want to make a match of it, against Chelsea.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.