After tasting back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Watford, Chelsea arrested their little mini-slump with a commanding 3-0 win over West Brom at the Bridge on Monday evening.
Returning to face his former club, Daniel Sturridge lasted a full three minutes before succumbing to injury, the hyper-fragile striker limping off down the tunnel with a hamstring tweak that is likely to keep him out for at least a fortnight.
The home side were then extremely lucky not to concede a penalty almost immediately after play resumed when Cesc Fabregas went lunging in on Jay Rodriguez moments after the latter had come on to replace Sturridge…
Just a few minutes later came another legitimate call for a straight red card when Craig Dawson stopped Davide Zappacosta in his tracks by planting a double-footed challenge into the Italian full-back’s shins…
For the record, no foul was given for either of the aforementioned ‘tackles’.
Anyway, it was Eden Hazard who opened the scoring with 25 minutes gone, the Belgian finishing off an incisive move after benefiting from some good hold-off play from Olivier Giroud, who was making his first start for the Blues…
The second goal came on the hour mark when Victor Moses cut in from the right, exchanged a one-two with Cesc Fabregas on his way through the Baggies backline and tucked a close-range finish past Ben Foster.
He then celebrated by activating his tractor beam and returning to his home planet.
The scoring was then wrapped up less than 10 minutes later when Hazard nabbed his second the evening, wrong-footing Foster with an emphatic 20-yard effort…
After having his nose held to the hob for the past few weeks, Antonio Conte was quick to thank the Chelsea fans for their continued support after the match:
They are reading speculation and rumours on me and I’m grateful to the fans.
It means they understand my passion, my will to defend this colour, this shirt, this badge.
I have to live with this pressure until the end of the season. I don’t want this pressure to weigh on the shoulders of my players.
If there were any remaining doubt that he’s jumping ship in June, it’s all but dissipated now.
Any road up, the victory puts the Blues back up to fourth, just one point behind Liverpool in third.
Alan Pardew’s dreary side remain rock bottom, seven points from safety with just 11 matches left to play.