And Breathe. When you've only had one man at the back for the last ten minutes of a game, you know it hasn't been a good day at the office. In fact, it has been an absolutely dreadful day at the office for Chelsea. It's well documented that Mourinho has never lost at home in the Premier League during his two stints at Chelsea and today was the day where it looked like it was going to end and quite frankly, the run probably should have ended today.
The first half was incredibly dull. Unsurprisingly, Chelsea lacked imagination going forward whilst Juan Mata looked on from the bench. There was no real desire about Chelsea's play either with Lampard having a particulary bad day at the office. It's sad to see such a legend struggling to keep up with the game but he was verging on becoming a passenger today. Lampard's only contribution of any sort was when he smacked a free-kick straight into the West Brom wall where he nearly castrated Mulumbu. The team lacked balance, something which Mikel seems to bring to the team so I'll be surprised if Lampard keeps his place after the international break.
Oscar took Chelsea's next free-kick which was heading into the top corner until Myhill pulled off a decent save. Chelsea took the lead though Eto'o, who seized on a moment of hesitation from Liam Ridgewell to pounce and put Chelsea 1-0 up just before the half time break. Eto's has looked very lively and alert in his recent performances and is starting to look like an intelligent signing.
Aside from his free-kick, Oscar's only worthy contribution to the game was his ball to Hazard at the start of the second half. Hazard made an excellent run into the box from the left and he was found wonderfully by Oscar only for the Belgian to take a heavy touch and gift the ball back to Myhill. West Brom were level soon after but not before Long leaped superbly to beat Cahill in the air and head against the post. The equalizer came from a corner which Gareth McAuley headed towards goal only for Cech to pull off a very good save, sadly no one in the Chelsea box reacted and Long was able to beat Terry and Lampard in the air to head home.
Mourinho instantly pulled Lampard off for Demba Ba with Oscar slotting alongside Ramires. An attacking move by Mourinho which led to West Brom taking the lead. Ivanovic lost the ball again high up the pitch and Ridgewell broke up the pitch, he fed Sessegnon on the egde of the area who fired a weak shot towards goal which Cech saves 999 times out of a 1000. Sadly, today was that one day where Cech had an absolutely howler and let the ball slide past him into the net.
Azpilicueta and Oscar were hauled off for Mikel and Mata. Do you know on Football Manager when you need a goal and you select the 'Overload' tactic? Mourinho did that. Terry, Cahill and Ba were camped in the West Brom box as Mikel fired the ball into them time after time. It was poor, desperate football by Chelsea which wasn't working. Step forward Andre Marriner to save the day. Most neutrals would argue that Ramires dived, I would argue that he forced the contact with Reid and then went down very easily. It definitely wasn't a penalty and WBA were rightly furious. Hazard then cooly slotted the penalty away to rescue a point which Chelsea really didn't deserve.
From start to finish, Chelsea didn't play like a team. Ivanovic was again useless at right back, attempting nine crosses and only finding a Chelsea player twice. Drogba isn't in the box anymore so Ivanovic has to adapt his game and stop floating in pointless crosses which lead to nothing. He simply isn't a right back and the sooner Azpilicueta establishes himself as first choice, the better. I think it's agreed that Mikel has to be in the starting XI. He helps provide a little more security in front of the back four, plus he's happy to sit and let Ramires try and find holes in the opposition's defence.
I know Mourinho has came in and tried to stamp down his authority but I find his treatment of Mata just appalling. There is a reason why Mata has won Chelsea's player of the year two years running, it's because he's the best player at the club. He has a calming influence on the pitch, he is always on the move looking for space and is constantly offering himself as an option to his teammates. When you're playing against a wall, like the one deployed by West Brom today then Mata simply has to play. Mourinho's made his point, no one is untouchable etc, but it's time that Mourinho actually starts playing his best players in their best positions.
Chelsea Ratings: Cech 4, Ivanovic 4, Cahill 6, Terry 5, Azpilicueta 6; Lampard 5, Ramires 6; Hazard 6, Oscar 5, Willian 6; Eto'o 7. SUBS: Ba 5, Mata 6, Mikel 6.