Premier League
Chelsea1West Brom0

Chelsea 1-0 West Bromwich Albion

Diego Costa scores against West Brom
Diego Costa has scored with six of his past nine shots on target in the league

Chelsea moved back to the top of the Premier League and made it nine successive league wins as Diego Costa scored the winner against a stubborn West Brom at Stamford Bridge.

The Spain striker took advantage of a mistake by a hesitant Gareth McAuley in the 76th minute to rob the defender of possession and curl a brilliant left-foot shot past Ben Foster.

West Brom had looked like earning a point after restricting the Blues to just one other shot on target, a 30-yard David Luiz free-kick.

Chelsea also came close through an N'Golo Kante shot that deflected off Pedro and rolled just wide of the post.

The Baggies had early chances through a Chris Brunt shot that fizzed wide and Salomon Rondon shooting across goal.

Chelsea move three points ahead of Arsenal while West Brom stay ninth.

Costa matches 2015-16 total after 15 games

Diego Costa and Gareth McAuley
Gareth McAuley had the opportunity to clear before Costa forced him off the ball

Chelsea had scored 22 in their previous eight league victories but looked likely falling victim to a defensive masterclass from Tony Pulis' side until Costa struck.

The Blues had been frustrated by West Brom's compact defence, which hurried and hassled them from the start and pressed high up the pitch, restricting them to speculative shots from long range until McAuley's error.

The 37-year-old Northern Irishman, who had been booked, had plenty of time to clear a hopeful Cesc Fabregas pass down the line but delayed fatally, allowing Costa to force him off the ball and run inside.

It was the 28-year-old's 12th league goal of the season, matching last season's total.

Job so nearly done by West Brom

Chelsea average position
It was very congested in the middle of the park, as both teams' average positions show (West Brom below)
West Brom average position

West Brom had won three of their previous four league games, drawing the other, and if they had been able to hold out for another 14 minutes another point would have lifted them into sixth position.

Craig Dawson and Jonny Evans led a superb defensive display, allowing Eden Hazard and Pedro little space in which to roam and spread the play.

The Baggies had failed to win at Stamford Bridge in the league since September 1978 but began the brighter, with Brunt heading over before his 25-yard shot.

As the game continued their ambition was largely restricted to keeping Chelsea out but they were doing that comfortably until McAuley took the wrong option when he should have belted the ball into row Z.

Dawson picked up his fifth booking of the season for pulling back Costa off the ball and will now miss Wednesday's home game against Swansea.

Man of the match - Jonny Evans (West Brom)

Jonny Evans challenges Diego Costa
West Brom centre-half Jonny Evans was assured throughout, winning 80% of his duels, making five clearances and two interceptions. Unlucky to finish on the losing side.

What they said:

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte told Match of the Day: "For sure there was relief, it was a tough game and we prepared for this situation. West Brom is a tough team, a physical team who are difficult to break down. It was a good win and now we must continue.

"We have won nine in a row which is fantastic because this league is very tough. We are working very well.

"I think West Brom prepared well defensively and tried to close every space. This game, if you find the goal quickly, you can have an easier game. When you don't find the goal, it becomes more difficult but we were very good to find in the right moment to do it."

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Conte delights in Chelsea's 'fantastic' run

West Brom boss Tony Pulis told Match of the Day: "I was happy all the way through the game. They play a different system to most teams and we'd worked on a structure to beat them.

"It's disappointing because Gareth [McAuley] has got to deal with it. He's made a mistake and we move on. We don't really want to criticise anyone. Our structure and organisation was very good.

"One mistake, one chance and the fella puts it away - that's the difference in quality that separates the teams at the top."

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West Brom 'had a right go' at Chelsea - Pulis

Chelsea match winning run - match stats

  • Chelsea have won at least nine Premier League games in a row for the fifth time, more than any other team in the competition
  • For the first in the Premier League, Tony Pulis has named an unchanged line-up in four successive games
  • It's also the first time West Brom have named an unchanged line-up in four successive Premier League games
  • Chelsea recorded their highest share of possession in a league game this season (66.9%)
  • Fouls on Diego Costa have resulted in nine cards being shown in the league this season, more than any other player
  • Costa has been involved in 17 goals in the league so far this season (12 goals, five assists); more than any other player
  • In fact, Costa has either scored or assisted in 15 of his last 17 league games - only failing to do so against Manchester United and Arsenal this season

What's next?

Chelsea go to bottom side Sunderland on Wednesday (19:45 GMT) before a London derby at Crystal Palace on Saturday at 12:30.

West Brom host Swansea on Wednesday (20:00) and then have another home game against Manchester United on Saturday at 17:30.

Line-ups

Chelsea

  • 13Courtois
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 30David Luiz
  • 24Cahill
  • 15MosesSubstituted forFàbregasat 74'minutes
  • 7KantéBooked at 48mins
  • 21MaticBooked at 88mins
  • 3Alonso
  • 11PedroSubstituted forWillianat 63'minutes
  • 19Diego Costa
  • 10E HazardSubstituted forIvanovicat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Begovic
  • 2Ivanovic
  • 4Fàbregas
  • 22Willian
  • 23Batshuayi
  • 29Chalobah
  • 34Aina

West Brom

  • 1Foster
  • 25DawsonBooked at 51mins
  • 23McAuleyBooked at 29mins
  • 6Evans
  • 2Nyom
  • 24Fletcher
  • 5YacobBooked at 56mins
  • 11BruntBooked at 19minsSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 84'minutes
  • 7MorrisonSubstituted forChadliat 78'minutes
  • 10PhillipsSubstituted forMcCleanat 78'minutes
  • 9Rondón

Substitutes

  • 3Olsson
  • 4Robson-Kanu
  • 8Gardner
  • 14McClean
  • 20Galloway
  • 22Chadli
  • 40Palmer
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
41,622

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home12
Away6
Shots on Target
Home2
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away1
Fouls
Home6
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Gareth McAuley.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Craig Dawson tries a through ball, but Hal Robson-Kanu is caught offside.

Booking

Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Nemanja Matic (Chelsea).

Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Diego Costa.

Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Attempt missed. Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Chris Brunt.

Offside, Chelsea. Gary Cahill tries a through ball, but Diego Costa is caught offside.

Diego Costa (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion).

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by N'Golo Kanté.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Branislav Ivanovic replaces Eden Hazard.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Nacer Chadli replaces James Morrison.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James McClean replaces Matt Phillips.

Goal!

Goal! Chelsea 1, West Bromwich Albion 0. Diego Costa (Chelsea) left footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jonny Evans.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Cesc Fàbregas replaces Victor Moses.

Attempt missed. Willian (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by César Azpilicueta.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match David Luiz (Chelsea) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by César Azpilicueta.

Attempt blocked. David Luiz (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by N'Golo Kanté.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Willian replaces Pedro.

Attempt blocked. David Luiz (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Diego Costa (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion) because of an injury.

Booking

Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Gary Cahill (Chelsea).

Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion).

Foul by Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Chelsea. Eden Hazard tries a through ball, but David Luiz is caught offside.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea15121233112237
2Arsenal15104136152134
3Liverpool1594237201731
4Man City1593332191330
5Tottenham1576224111327
6Man Utd156632016424
7Watford156362126-521
8West Brom155552018220
9Everton155551919020
10Southampton155551415-120
11Stoke155461722-519
12Bournemouth155372125-418
13Burnley155281525-1017
14Leicester154472126-516
15Crystal Palace154382729-215
16Middlesbrough153661316-315
17West Ham153481731-1413
18Swansea153391931-1212
19Hull153391432-1812
20Sunderland1532101427-1311
View full Premier League table

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