Chelsea cruise to victory, but they were tested throughout by West Brom. The visitors could have led before Hazard’s opener and should then have pegged back the champions, too. Moses added a second, though, and Hazard capped an ultimately comfortable home win.
Chelsea did not exactly cruise on Monday night, but they were relatively comfortable compared to recent crises. The scoreline did not flatter them, their goals were well taken, and if West Brom are by league position the worst team in the fixture schedule, they are also one fighting for their lives. They were the final league opponents of two Chelsea managers, Roberto Di Matteo and Andre Villas-Boas, and some thought a third had Chelsea lost on Monday night.
It wasn’t in doubt. The fans serenaded Antonio Conte and the storm clouds have passed for now. By the end of the week, Chelsea should be in the FA Cup quarter-finals – Hull, at home on Friday, are the next opponents – and anticipating the Champions League visit of Barcelona. This victory returned them to the top four at the expense of Tottenham. Normal service has resumed, short-term at least.
A goal up at half-time, the second as good as sealed it. Salomon Rondon had just spurned a great opportunity out-muscling Andreas Christensen, and West Brom were made to pay. Instead of drawing level, they went a dispiriting two goals down. Victor Moses surged into the box from the right, and laid the ball to Cesc Fabregas who attempted its return with an inventive backheel flick. Instead of its intended target, it took a ricochet off defender Craig Dawson but found Moses anyway. His shot left Foster no chance and West Brom rooted ever more securely to the bottom.