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West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea, Premier League: Half-time report


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If we expected Tony Pulis's West Bromwich Albion to lie down and let Chelsea waltz to the title, we would be very, very wrong.  West Brom have executed their typical Pulisball gameplan of fouling, packing the box, fouling some more, complaining, fouling some more, time wasting, and fouling some more to perfection.  A proud day for their manager — and their fans, who have been similarly brainwashed — no doubt.

Referee Michael Oliver has not been too lenient overall, but he's still let Jonny Evans get away with a foul on Eden Hazard in the box and chose not to punish Chris Brunt for blocking a cross with his arm, also in the box.  Evans then got away with a clear handball just outside the box while James McClean should be off after at least two identical yellow card-worthy challenges (was only given a card for the first one).  Pulisball only works when it's being enabled like that.

West Brom did have a half-chance in the opening seconds, but it's been all Chelsea probing since with a few counters from the home side.  Pedro's had a few looks, but Costa and Hazard have been kept quiet while Matić and Fàbregas need to circulate the ball a bit faster.  We might need something special, like Costa's goal at the Bridge in the reverse fixture, to break the deadlock.

A bit of patience, a bit of quality, and we've got this.


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