Chelsea demolished West Bromwich Albion 4-0 in a devastating encounter at the Hawthorns on Saturday. The win was a statement of intent from the Blues who look desperate to catch league leaders Manchester City.
The win also had reverberations around the Hawthorns with many suggesting the humiliating display could spell the end for manager Tony Pulis.
Here’s a few things we learned from the heavily one-sided tie…
4. West Brom Are No Longer Compact Defensively
Pulis is well-known for his ability to structure his sides well and make them utterly compact defensively and, since taking charge of West Brom in January 2015, he has brought stability to the Hawthorns.
However that no longer seems the case. The Baggies defence was calamitous on Saturday with goalkeeper Ben Foster being at fault for more than one of the goal and Ahmed Hegazi conceded a free kick in a dangerous area that in turn led to Marcos Alonso’s finish from close range.
When the Baggies can’t rely on a resolute and strong back-line, they have to hope they can outscore the opposition, which is something Pulis’ sides just aren’t built for.
3. Eden Hazard Is Chelsea’s Best Chance of Catching League Leaders Manchester City
Eden Hazard was mesmeric at times on Saturday, scoring two goals and creating Alvaro Morata’s opener. Hazard nearly opened the scoring in the 17th minute after having a low shot parried away by Foster, which in turn fell to Morata to poke home.
The Belgium international is Chelsea’s star man and Antonio Conte will rely on him to catch up with Manchester City.
2. Alvaro Morata Is a Natural Fit at the Blues
Alvaro Morata bagged his eighth goal of the campaign on Saturday and proved once again that he is a natural fit at Chelsea. The young Spaniard combined well with Hazard and Cesc Fabregas all afternoon with the three working well together and sharing the profits.
With Hazard creating Morata’s opener, Morata then did the same for Hazard only minutes later. With such a devastating force up front, Chelsea are a side to be reckoned with.
1. Tony Pulis Is Out of Time at the Hawthorns
Tony Pulis is currently still in charge at the Hawthorns, but Saturday’s hiding made it abundantly clear that he has lost the fans and is on his last life.
There were boos from home supporters and jeers from the away end at half time, with the home crowd chanting ‘Tony Pulis, get out of our club’ and the away fans chanting ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning.’
There is no doubt that Pulis is a capable enough manager with a wealth of experience and a good system, but with results not going their way, the Baggies faithful look to have washed their hands with the manager.
It remains unclear whether Pulis will still be in charge for the Baggies trip to Tottenham on Saturday.