The English Premier League leaders continued their run of excellence atop the table, as Chelsea dominated from start to finish, beating 10-man West Bromwich Albion, 2-0, in a result that would have been far worse without some outstanding goalkeeping from Ben Foster.
The momentum started off heavily in Chelsea's favor, with John Terry stinging Ben Foster's gloves with a header after a brisk opening spell for the hosts. It became very obvious, very quickly Chelsea was going to dominate possession, and there was very little West Brom was going to be able to do about it.
So then it came as little surprise in the 11th minute when Diego Costa was picked out by an Oscar cross in the box. Costa had seen that Andre Wisdom was a couple of yards behind the rest of the defensive line, and wisely used that buffer to get a step on Joleon Lescott. That step was all he needed, as he had the space to pick his shot and hammer home past a helpless Ben Foster.
Foster was determined not to let his side, which was bitterly disappointing on the day, get blown out, as the momentum of the match suggested was possible. He played brilliantly in the first half, stopping a multitude of Chelsea shots and preventing several others from even happening with good defensive work.
There was nothing Foster could do in the 25th minute, though. West Brom's defense didn't even seem to notice Chelsea had taken a short corner, allowing Eden Hazard to take all the time and space he needed to bring down and set the ball before firing it in from a tight angle. Foster was livid and screamed at his defense to wake up and pay attention, but it was too little, too late.
It went from bad to worse for West Brom four minutes later; Costa was looking to control the ball at the top of West Brom's box, and out of nowhere Claudio Yacob came leaping in, utilizing a flying two footed, full-body challenge to send Costa clattering to the ground. Lee Mason didn't even need a moment's consideration to whip out a red card and send Yacob packing.
West Brom were able to see out the rest of the half without surrendering a goal, but only thanks to more top-notch play from Foster. The second half started much the same, with Foster making a pair of huge stops in the first five minutes to keep the scoreline reasonable, even if West Brom couldn't hold any kind of possession against Chelsea's onslaught.
As the hour mark approached (and after Chris Baird took one of the worst free kicks you will ever, ever see), Chelsea started to slow the pace down a bit. They still had little trouble holding the ball, and West Brom wasn't exactly offering much of a challenge in attack, so Jose Mourinho's men had little reason to push at the same frenetic pace they'd carried earlier in the match.
There was a controversial moment later on when Craig Dawson went up over Diego Costa for a header and knocked the striker in the head with a flailing elbow. Dawson was booked for the foul, and it took Costa a bit to get back up off the pitch. Trainers came out to make sure he hadn't suffered a concussion, and after Costa was cleared things were allowed to carry on. Costa was still brought off just a few minutes later, though, in order to give Didier Drogba a run out in front of the home faithful.
Drogba's introduction seemed to put some pep in Chelsea's step as his teammates tried to find a goal for the club's legend, but there was no drama left to be had. West Brom had a couple of late counter attacks that came to nothing, and Chelsea couldn't find the right final ball in the last few minutes of the match. Chelsea could have, and should have, won this match by a much wider margin, but a win is a win and Chelsea made it look easy from the first kick to the final whistle as they cemented their lead atop the English Premier League.
Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian (Ramires 85'), Oscar (Remy 79'), Hazard; Costa (Drogba 83')
Goals: Costa (11'), Hazard (25')
West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Wisdom, Dawson, Lescott, Baird (Gamboa 68'); Yacob (red card 29'), Gardner; Dorrans (Morrison 84'), Sessegnon, Brunt; Berahino (Anichebe 78')