West Brom 0-1 Chelsea: match report
Chelsea didn't want to win the league without adding a little drama to proceedings. They left it late at the Hawthorns on Friday night despite being frustrated for much of the night and with West Brom looking more likely to score for a spell in the second half.
They had more possession, more shots and more ambition than their hosts but with Diego Costa misfiring and Eden Hazard having an off night too, much of the weight of expectation landed on other such as Pedro and Cesc Fabregas in the opening half.
Pedro was lively and Fabregas was doing what he could but Jonny Evans and the threat of a counter-attacking James Mcclean prevented Chelsea from throwing the kitchen sink at the visitors and McClean made too mis-timed passes as West Brom broke twice in the first half and looked dangerous. Those moves ended but they were vital in allowing West Brom to reset and set up their defense for further pressure from the league leaders.
That was the story of the first half and it came and went without much incident.
There was a fear, especially for Chelsea fans, that the same would happen in the second half. They started better and had plenty of energy but were still failing to truly unlock West Brom's defense.
As the game wore on, it was West Brom who looked more like scoring. Rondon had an effort that was half-blocked after an excellent counter and Livermore had an effort after a similar move when Nacer Chadli found him in space at the edge of the square.
The clock was ticking on Chelsea's chances of wrapping up the league but the goal, when it came, was off the boot of the unlikeliest of heroes.
Gary Cahill struck a volley on the edge of the square on 82 minutes and it went so wrong that it ended up being a good pass to Azpilicueta on the right. The Spaniard crossed to an onside Michy Batshuayi, a player who had not started a Premier League game all year, and he poked home to beat Ben Foster and help Chelsea to the title.
Conte and Courtois celebrated on the sideline and Chelsea had to just hold on for another few minutes. They managed that with few problems and Chelsea picked up their fifth Premier League title in 13 years, which is a record only matched by Manchester United.
They have two games left that can be played as victory marches as they sit ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in the league table and will not be caught.
West Brom 0-1 Chelsea live stream online: second half
Min 90 + 4 | Courtois makes a save and stays on the ground for as lonng as he possibly could.
Min 90 | Fletcher with a cross into Rondon and it comes over the Venezuelan's head. He has a strike on the volley but he was offside. Five minutes of added time in the midlands.
Min 88 | There seems to be some trouble in the away section as the referee stops play for a minute. Strong security presence down in that section. Michael Oliver eventually starts play again.
Chelsea substitution: Zouma comes on in place of victor Moses.
Min 82 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Michy Batshuayi scores after a mix-up at the back. Shot by Cahill goes all wrong but Azpilicueta gets to it and crosses to the Belgian and he gets it past Foster.
Min 81 | Well-worked free kick by West Brom sees Brunt whip it into the back post. It's headed down by Nyom can't get the shot on tagret. Chelsea on the attack again.
Min 76 | Corner for West Brom as Cahill gets a head on a free. Says he didn't touch it. Corner comes to nothing. Chelsea might have run out of steam it seems. Beaten down by West Brom's tactics. Willian the very man that could liven them up. They have been resolute so far though and Willian's first touch is a pass to nobody. Goal-kick.
Chelsea substitution: Willian replaces Pedro and Michy Batshuayi replaces Eden Hazard.
Min 74 | Azpilicueta with a shot that flies over the bar.
Min 72 | As Chelsea push forward, they look more vulnerable than ever. Chadli gets it off Rondon and he gets it across to Livermore. The midfielder's effort goes just wide.
Min 71 | Marc Wilson pulls Victor Moses down with a really cynical foul and gets booked. Gets a congratulations off his teammates.
Min 70 | Really good effort for Rondon as he turns David Luiz with ease and races free. Azpilicueta puts him under pressure and gets a foot on his shot. Corner.
çMin 68 | Moses absolutely whips one into the box but there's too much pace on it for Costa. Breaks to Hazard eventually but he flies over.
Min 66 | Game has died out here. West Brom just taken the sting out of Chelsea and they ran out of idead with Costa not on his game.
West Brom substitution: Gareth McAuley is replaced by Marc Wilson.
Min 61 | Costa down in a heap in the penalty area as Yacob wins the ball off him. He's fine. Then Fabregas takes Yacob down and gives away the free. West Brom slightly more open but still no goals for Chelsea. Costa really struggling.
West Brom substitution: Chadli replaces McClean.
Min 57 | Brunt fouls Hazard and gives him a warm round of applause for his acting efforts. Referee Michael Oliver has a word with Fletcher, the captain, and Brunt the culprit and tells them to calm down.
Min 56 | Hazard fouled by Dawson. Dangerous position but slightly too far out to the left for a shot. Fabregas stands over it.
Min 55 | West Brom looking to get some form of attack going but Nyom pushes Moses in the back and he falls over.
Min 53 | Chelsea in all out attack mode now. Hazard has a pull-back that nearly gets put into the net for an own goal by Dawson. they manage to get it away. Looks like it's only a matter of time now before Chelsea score. Conte doing some pacing.
West Brom substitution: Claudio Yacob replaces Sam Field.
Min 51 | Costa fall over himself in the square. It makes it to Fabregas and he has an effort. Very close but no cigar.
Min 50 | Fletcher nearly caught out again. He manages to dribble it to a teammate. All Chelsea in the opening exchanges. They are keen to get a goal and end the title race tonight!
Min 48 | Fletcher takes a bad touch and Chelsea with it back. Pedro crosses to Costa and he hits an awkward looking scissors kick at Foster. Save.
Min 47 | Alonso plays it to Fabregas and he plays it to Moses. With Azpilicueta on the overlap, he goes it alone and drives a shot low and hard to Foster's right. He makes an excellent save. Corner.
Min 46 | We are underway for the second half.
West Brom 0-0 Chelsea live stream: first half talking points
Jonny Evans has done an impressive job on Diego Costa in the first half. Every turn Costa makes, He is standing behind him waiting to block his shot. Having said that, it's not open at the back and Costa isn't moving as freely as he likes, getting the ball out wide and bringing it into the box. He has been fairly stagnant.
The biggest issue West Brom might have going forward is James McClean on Victor Moses. The Irish international already has a yellow card and Moses is enjoying himself out there on the right. Pulis will have to pay attention to that one.
Chelsea have failed to break down a team everyone knew would be stubborn. They have failed to win here in four of their last five visits. They have had 15 attempts to West Brom's two and are enjoying 72% of possession. Is it only a matter of time?
West Brom 0-0 Chelsea live stream: first half
Min 45 + 1 | West Brom have a free kick in a dangerous position out on the right. Time running out now Brunt swinging it in with his left. Good ball but Chelsea get it away, just about! HT.
Min 45 | West Brom continue to look dangerous. They break with Rondon and he crosses to Brunt but Daviz Luiz gets it out for a corner. corner is far too long.
Min 44 | Hazard, yet again, links up with Costa. But Jonny Evans is watching him every step of the way and his shot flies over the bar. Chelsea getting chances but nothing too dangerous.
Min 42 | Hazard has a crack after Moses plays it to Costa and the striker lays it off to the Belgian. It's blocked and West Brom try to break but the out ball to Rondon hits him on the back as he is running away and can't regain his footing as he makes his way back to the ball.
Min 40 | Rondon battling hard against David Luiz and he wins a throw after diving into a tackle and kicking it off Azpilicueta. The Hawthrosn fans are loving this.
Min 39 | Allan Nyom the latest to foul a Chelsea player on the break. West Brom have grown into this game in the last few minutes. They are looking slightly more ambitious.
Min 37 | Moses plays it into Pedro, who turns and strikes with his left but he goes well wide.
Min 35 | Chelsea trying to break with Pedro. Sam Field takes him down from the side and he goes down. Yellow card for the youngster.
Min 34 | Cross by Dawson is far too close to Courtois. He gathers with ease again.
Min 33 | Ooooh! Very close from Fabregas, who fires a shot across Foster that goes just inches wide. Best effort yet for Chelsea.
Min 30 | Chelsea trying to break down a stubborn West Brom side now. Pulis has set out his stall. McClean with another foul on Moses. Free to Chelsea but McClean needs to be very, very careful now. Free comes to nothing as West Brom scramble away.
Min 27 | Corner to West Brom. It goes very, very high and Evans gets a flick on it before Brunt flicks it into Courtois' waiting arms.
Min 27 | Hazard down in a heap. He gets stood on by Nyom and limps away from the scene. No free.
Min 25 | Hazard wants another penalty. He goes to the ground under a challenge from Evans, who then falls on top of him. Referee well placed but no chance. Chelsea manage to get it back and Azpilicueta has a crack but Foster is behind it every step of the way.
Min 23 | McClean has a cross that maybe, just might fly over Courtois' head but he gathers safely in the end. Far too close to the keeper.
Min 21 | From the free, it nearly reaches Costa but is slices the top of his head. Cahill strikes it at the back post and it goes out for a corner. Chelsea looking increasingly dangerous but Moses runs down a blind alley and puts it out for a goal-kick.
Min 19 | McClean not attacking this time but defending. He fouls Moses on the edge of the square and is not happy. He gets a yellow card for his protests. Quite obviously a foul and a silly yellow to pick up.
Min 17 | West Brom break again with McClean but again his pass is behind the man breaking with him. Allan Nyom is that man on this occasion. He gets a cross in by Chelsea have men back and they get it away.
Min 15 | Fletcher fouls Azpilicueta after he believed he was fouled by Costa. Short free taken to Pedro and he strikes but Evans half blocks it. It nearly sneaks past Foster at the far post but it's a corner. Azpilicueta with a shot not that's blocked again. Over the bar!
Min 13 | West Brom break with James McClean but his pass to Rondon is behind him. They had a two-on-one situation but McClean's pass lets them down. They keep is and Fletcher nearly gets a shot off from the edge of the square but Matic breaks for Chelsea as he steals it off the tip of his toe. Lively start.
Min 12 | Corner Chelsea but they want a penalty as Pedro's cross comes off Chris Brunt's hand. Referee says no chance.
Min 11 | Fabregas plays it to Hazard, who steps over it before Costa plays it to him after he continued his run. He gets a shot away but it's half-blocked and deflected up to Foster.
Min 10 | Pedro with a shot that flies over Foster's post.
Min 9 | Costa takes it down and waits before striking but it's nblocked. He did well but Evans was never letting him get a clean shot away.
Min 7 | Hazard goes down under a tackle from Dawson. Free to Chelsea on the left as they prepare to swing it in. Fabregas will be the delivery man.
Min 5 | Really good ball over the top to Pedro. He almost takes it down with an expert touch but it gets away from him slightly and West Brom manage to clear. All Chelsea now. Alonso lurking at the back post from a cross and Brunt is forced to get it away.
Min 3 | Chelsea building as Costa gets the ball out with to Alonso, who plays it back inside. Moses looks to move it forward from the right but West Brom get a goal-kick.
Min 1 | Good start by West Brom, Rondon gets a head to the ball and forces a save fro Courtois. Corner to the home side.
Min 1 | We are underway at the Hawthorns.
West Brom vs Chelsea live stream online: team news
West brom starting line-up: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom; Brunt, Livermore, Fletcher, Field, McClean; Rondon.
Chelsea starting line-up: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard.
West Brom vs Chelsea live stream online: latest news
20:56 | Ready to kick off here as West Brom look to rain on Chelsea's parade.
20:50 | Chelsea are vying for their fifth Premier League title in 13 years. They have been runners up on four occasions.
20:45 | West Bromich Albion have the worst record in the division since the start of April, earning just two points from six matches.
20:38 | Chelsea have had a player sent off in their last two trips to the Hawthorns. John Terry was dismissed last season and Cesc Fabregas was given his marching orders in 2014-15.
20:28 | Antonio Conte would not rule out the possibility of Eden Hazard leaving Real Madrid either. The Belgian has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for months and despite los Blancos' lack of need for a player like him, the reports just will not go away.
20:22 | Of course, a summer transfer window would not be complete without Diego Costa being linked to Atletico but Jamie Vardy has been thrown into the mix too as Diego Simeone sees him as a possible replacement for Kevin Gameiro.
20:18 | Diego Costa has scored three goals in his last five games against West Brom. It might be the Spanish striker's last game against West Brom in the Premier League as he has been linked with a move to China's Tianjin Quanjian.
20:16 | Allan Nyom starts in place of Marc Wilson from the team that started the last day. Other than that, it's the same team that played and drew with Sean Dyche's side.
20:14 | 19-year-old Sam Field gets his second start in a row for West Brom. He played 54 minutes in the last game, a 2-2 draw with Burnley and played in four games prior to that for just a handful of minutes. He did get two starts earlier in the year though - that was back in August and September though.
20:09 | Team news is in as Fabregas gets his second start in a row after picking Middlesbrough apart with two assists on the way to a 3-0 victory over the relegated side. Having not started the season very well, it is the 23rd game in the league in a row that Fabregas has been involved in.
19:58 | Chelsea have been beaten in three of their last five trips to the Hawthorns. West Brom were beaten in every game from 2003 until 2011 when Chelsea came to town prior to their recent run.
19:40 | The club with the most is, of course, one-time perch-knocker-offer-in-chiefs Manchester United, with 20. Speaking of the Red Devils, there are some interesting reports coming out of Colombia concerning a certain Madrid-based attacking midfielder.
19:30 | A sixth English league championship for Chelsea would move them into joint-sixth position in the pantheon of clubs boasting the most title wins. Level with, er, Sunderland.
19:00 | In addition to a sixth English league title, a win for Chelsea tonight will secure a first top-flight double over West Brom since 2010/11.
18:18 | Eden Hazard has had a fine season at Stamford Bridge... The Belgian has got his eyes on the Ballon D'Or, but accepts that he may have to wait until Messi and Ronaldo retire.
17:55 | It's fair to say that since crossing that 40-point mark, West Brom have not so much taken their foot off the gas, but violently recoiled away from the gas pedal. They have not won in their last six (lost 4, drawn 2).
17:25 | Until Jose Mourinho's arrival in West London in 2004, both of these clubs had one English League title to their name. Chelsea lifted the trophy in 1954-55, and West Brom back in 1919-20.
16:50 | Tony Pulis is renowned for his ability to organise a defence, rather than create a slick, passing unit. That is reflected by the fact that West Brom have completed the fewest passes of any Premier League this season - an average of just 313 per match. That's almost half of Manchester City's figure.
16:10 | It has been quite a journey to the Premier League for West Brom defender Craig Dawson. Having been rejected as a 16 year old, he became a glass collecter in a Rochdale pub (which happened to be owned by Bernard Manning's son), while turning out for non-league Radcliffe Borough.
15:15 | There will be a EPL representative in the UEFA Europa League final in Solma on May 24. Here's how United made the final.
14:31 | One player who looks unlikely to be playing Premier League football next season is Arbeloa as his time with West Ham comes to an end.
11:40 | Expect goals at The Hawthorns tonight as not one of the 21 EPL encounters between "The Baggies" and "The Blues" has ended goalless.
11:25 | Good morning on and welcome to our live feed ahead on tonight's West Brom v Chelsea match that could see the side from London SW6 proclaimed Premier League champions 2016/17.
West Brom vs Chelsea live stream online: match preview
Chelsea will be crowned Premier League champions with victory at the Hawthorns against a West Brom side that have suffered their traditional post-40 point collapse in recent weeks. Tony Pulis’ side have taken just two points from their last six games and found the net for the first time during that run in their last outing against Burnley.
Spectators at the Hawthorns are used to dining on thin gruel in the scoring stakes but this season West Brom have already beaten their Premier League goals total from the previous two campaigns. However, top-scorer Salomón Rondón has bagged just eight and much of the bulk of West Brom’s goals have come set-pieces, something Antonio Conte will have his players primed to defend against.
For their part, Chelsea are the league’s top scorers with 75 and have the second-most effective defence behind Tottenham’s. Of the last 21 top-flight meetings between the two sides none have ended goalless and the visitors will be eager to seal the title at the first attempt of three they have remaining, even if home games against Watford and Sunderland are as broad a safety net as the division can provide.
Pulis welcomes back Hal “the Welsh Cruyff” Robson-Kanu but will be without one of his primary attacking outlets in Matt Phillips. The West Brom boss will probably set up in his preferred 4-1-4-1, with Nacer Chadli pulling the strings behind lone striker Rondón.
West Brom are chasing a record points haul in the Premier League between now and the end of the season but Pulis will probably err on the side of caution against Chelsea despite facing two away games in the club’s final fixtures at Champions League-chasing Manchester City and a Swansea side battling against the drop.
Conte welcomes back PFA Players’ Player of the Year N’Golo Kanté, even if the Frenchman’s skill set will hardly be required against a side who are unlikely to be too ambitious. Diego Costa, who may be playing his final games for the club, is within sight of the Premier League top scorer gong and will fancy his chances of adding to his haul of 20 in the Hawthorns against the kind of defence the Spain international enjoys winding up and one he has scored three against in the last five meetings between the clubs.
It remains to be seen if Conte will allow the travelling support a moment of nostalgia and throw on John Terry for the final minutes if Chelsea are comfortably in front but the long-serving captain, who is a target for West Brom in the summer transfer market, will become the first non-Manchester United player to win five Premier League titles if the Blues triumph in the West Midlands.