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West Bromwich Albion striker Peter Odemwingie made it a miserable return to The Hawthorns for Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo with a second-half winner to stun the UEFA Champions League holders.
The Nigeria forward headed in a cross from Shane Long whose opening goal had been cancelled out by Eden Hazard. It condemned Di Matteo, who spent two years as Albion's manager, and his side to a first away Barclays Premier League defeat of the campaign. The Italian’s former club, managed by ex-Chelsea No2 Steve Clarke, registered a sixth win in seven home games.
Chelsea dominated for long periods territorially with Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge causing problems, but Boaz Myhill, who was deputising for the injured Ben Foster, was in inspired form with several crucial saves.
Chelsea dominated possession in the early stages and Ryan Bertrand came close to putting them ahead after eight minutes. Moses made a powerful run to the byline and squared the ball back across the danger area to Bertrand, whose low left-footed drive was cleared off the line by Liam Ridgewell. But 60 seconds later West Brom took the lead via their first worthwhile attack.
Zoltan Gera played the ball back to James Morrison whose floated cross picked out Long, who got behind David Luiz to head in from close range for his sixth goal of the campaign.
Chelsea tried to come back and John Obi Mikel's low 30-yard drive was only just off target with Myhill scrambling across his line. Myhill then got his body behind a swerving first time attempt from Sturridge.
Albion were at their most threatening on the counter-attack and Long, under pressure from Gary Cahill, had a shot saved by Petr Cech after attacking a cross from Billy Jones. Long was then just off target with a curling drive after he had shaken off the challenge of Cahill.
But after 38 minutes Hazard levelled for the Blues with his fourth goal of the season. He attacked Cesar Azpilicueta's deep cross and was able to squeeze the ball past Myhill at the far post with a powerful header.
Chelsea continued to dominate possession and Moses fired over after being teed up by Cahill. But Odemwingie restored Albion's lead five minutes into the second half. This time Long was the creator with a cross to the near post and Odemwingie got in front of Bertrand to glance his header past Cech for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Di Matteo made a double change with Fernando Torres and Oriol Romeu making way for Juan Mata and Oscar respectively. Myhill made a fine save to turn aside Sturridge's close range flick after Mata's ball had opened up the West Brom defence.
He then went down to cling on to Hazard's deflected shot as Chelsea delivered wave after wave of attacks. Sturridge could have made it 2-2 with three minutes left but screwed his shot across the face of goal.
West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke: "I'm delighted, a great three points, good attacking play, two fantastic goals, and dogged determined defensive play towards the end.
"Can we think of the Champions League? I don't look that far ahead, I look from game to game. It is a great time to be at the club and if the supporters want to dream a bit, they can. But within the camp, we will keep our feet on the ground."
"I've run out of words to describe his [Long] performances this season. Shane produced another fantastic performance in what has been a difficult week for him [after his grandmother died]. He wanted to play. He is going back to Ireland tonight to be with his family for the next two or three days."
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo: "It is a ground we find difficult, last season when we lost here, and now this season again. We know they are very good at home. But giving away goals like we did today makes if difficult to win the game.
"You have to score three goals to win then and our defending was very poor today. We didn't concede many chances but, the ones we did, we had to do better. This season we are playing a little bit different but we might have to go back [to a previous formation] to be able to win games, and make sure first and foremost we don't concede.
"Maybe it is the time where we might have to change a little bit in terms of our selection and the way we play. For some reasons, November for our club is a bad month and it seems the same again this year.
“We are disappointed and maybe it is time to look at things, maybe change it a bit and get a win. We will look at the set-up of the team and maybe sacrifice a bit the attacking options to go a little bit more defensive."
|24 Nov 2012||v Sunderland (A)|
|28 Nov 2012||v Swansea (A)|
|01 Dec 2012||v Stoke (H)|
|08 Dec 2012||v Arsenal (A)|
|16 Dec 2012||v West Ham (H)|
|22 Dec 2012||v Norwich (H)|