Belfast Telegraph

John Terry's red stains Chelsea triumph

West Brom 2-3 Chelsea

By Sam Wallace

His has been a career that has survived injury, scandal, Rafa Benitez and the limitless funds Chelsea have had to replace him over the last 12 years, so it would be unwise to write off John Terry as a footballer whose career should be talked about in the past tense.

He has proved to be the most durable of modern players but no one could deny it has been a rough eight days.

Substituted at half-time against Manchester City last week, sent off against West Bromwich Albion yesterday, he might be forgiven for thinking that someone is trying to tell him something.

In the past, he has ignored the voices that have told him he is too old or too slow and as the seasons have ticked on, he has been vindicated.

Even so, the ego will be hurting after this game, one in which he was sent off for bringing down Salomon Rondon as they ran towards goal together just before the hour.

Tony Pulis said it was "harsh". Jose Mourinho insisted that to discuss it would involve a whole wider thesis on the game itself and he was just not going to go there. For Terry, it will mean more time out of the team.

That was the human drama on a marvellous afternoon of five goals, a missed penalty, an absentee striker and a sparkling debut from Chelsea's new £21.1m signing Pedro. The absentee was Saido Berahino, who would now seem to be on his way out of West Brom this coming week.

It was a lot of entertainment from start to finish, with Chelsea hanging on for more than half an hour with 10 men and Mourinho finishing the game by shouting into the microphone in his technical area.

A strange way to end a frenetic afternoon in which everyone seemed to be feeling the stress as Chelsea fought their way to their first win of the season.

For Pulis, it was a difficult result to take given how well his side played at times. He could blame James Morrison for a first-half penalty that Thibaut Courtois saved but not too much because the Scot scored his team's two goals.

Pedro was as good as Manchester United must have feared - he got a goal and an assist in the first-half. Diego Costa scored his first of the season and Cesar Azpilicueta his first Premier League goal.

Even so, the cracks in Chelsea are there and never more obvious than when they conceded a penalty in the 13th minute. Nemanja Matic, who had thrust out a tired leg at Callum McManaman, did not bother with a protest.

Morrison chose to strike it down the centre of the goal. Although Courtois had already committed to his left, his leg flicked the ball over.

Pedro changed the game. His goal came after an exchange of passes with Eden Hazard before he hit a shot that clipped off Jonas Olsson and went in.

Then, in the 30th minute, it was Pedro's low pass across the face of goal that Costa slid in to force over the line.

The Blues, however, continued to look like they were one misstep away from calamity. Kurt Zouma fell over in possession. Cesc Fabregas passed the ball carelessly. Rondon managed to hook back James McClean's cross in the 35th minute for Morrison to finish sharply.

Azpilicueta scored the third when the ball bounced loose from what looked like a foul by Craig Dawson on Costa on 42 minutes. Terry was sent off nine minutes into the second-half for the denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity, in this case a sharp pull down on the arm of Rondon. It was a close call but it looked like Rondon was just about to get to the ball before Courtois.

Five minutes later, a back header from Morrison, made by McManaman who crossed from the left, gave West Brom their second goal of the game.

This was all good stuff, and really it was in the next 10 minutes that the two best chances came for West Brom to equalise through Rondon and then McManaman. At the other end, Radamel Falcao replaced Costa.

Chelsea had come up with an answer to their current problems, but the solution still feels temporary at best.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph