Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata ran riot as Chelsea outclassed West Brom 4-0 at the Hawthorns to turn up the heat on Tony Pulis.
As Antonio Conte celebrated his 50th Premier League match in style, the contrast to his opposite number in the dugout could not have been greater, as Pulis' side never came close to avoiding a fourth consecutive defeat.
Conte kept David Luiz to the bench on his return to the squad but the visitors hardly needed defensive reinforcement in cruising to their 10th win in 12 league away games.
On the ground where they sealed last season's title, Chelsea raced to a two-goal lead inside 23 minutes as Morata and Hazard exchanged assists for their quickfire goals.
It was all too easy for Marcos Alonso as he added a third from Cesc Fabregas' set-piece in the 38th minute and the champions remained in cruise control until Hazard completed his brace with a well-taken second just beyond the hour.
The victory sees Conte's men at least momentarily move into second, but the pressure on Pulis will only intensify with the Baggies now winless in all competitions since August.
That guy again @hazardeden10— Michy Batshuayi (@mbatshuayi) November 18, 2017
Contrary to what was ahead, West Brom began with purpose and looked to have taken a fifth-minute lead through Salomon Rondon, but his header was correctly ruled out for offside.
Chelsea quickly overcame their early wobble and went close through Tiemoue Bakayoko, before Morata made the breakthrough in the 17th minute.
Ben Foster could only parry Hazard's thumping left-footed effort as far as the Spain international, who tucked away the rebound for his eighth of the campaign.
It was that pair who combined again just six minutes later. Morata this time freed Hazard with a classy flick-on and, clean through on goal, the Belgium star made no mistake after rounding Foster.
And the contest was all but over by half-time as Alonso ghosted unmarked to the far post and volleyed in Fabregas' floated free-kick, ensuring the home side left the pitch to a chorus of boos.
An isolated Rondon continued to battle hard after the restart and was denied a promising opening by Gary Cahill's well-timed challenge, while Jake Livermore's air-swing from the subsequent corner almost cost his side on the counter-attack.
Pulis had replaced Grzegorz Krychowiak with Claudio Yacob at the break but the midfield switch did little to patch up the holes at the back, Morata finding space to test Foster once more.
Instead it was Hazard who was first to a brace when he silkily brought down Fabregas' ball over the top, steadied and fired through the retreating defenders.
A mix-up in Chelsea's defence allowed substitute James McClean to stride through with a chance for a consolation, but the Republic of Ireland winger dragged his shot wide to sum up a miserable afternoon for the hosts.
Key Opta stats:
- The Baggies have lost more Premier League games against Chelsea (17) than any other opponent.
- Alvaro Morata has had a hand in 12 goals in his first 11 Premier League games for Chelsea (eight goals, four assists), more than any other Blues player in the competition's history.
- This was Tony Pulis' joint-heaviest home Premier League defeat, matching his 4-0 defeats to Man City (October 2016) and Chelsea (January 2013 as Stoke boss).
- Eden Hazard has scored in 16 Premier League matches under Antonio Conte and won every match.
- Hazard has scored five Premier League goals against the Baggies – against no side has he scored more (also five against Bournemouth).
- Since the start of last season, Marcos Alonso has scored more Premier League goals (9) than any other defender.
24 de marzo 2018
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