Chelsea 1 West Brom 0: Costa the hero as Chelsea returns to top

Chelsea returned to the top of the table with its ninth successive Premier League win as it beat West Brom 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

DiegoCosta - cropped

Diego Costa celebrates scoring for Chelsea

Chelsea returned to the top of the table with its ninth successive Premier League win as it beat West Brom 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal had temporarily toppled the Blues with victory over Stoke City on Saturday, but Antonio Conte's side reclaimed pole position, Diego Costa finally breaking through a dogged West Brom defence for the decisive goal, which marked his 12th of the season.

>Read: Chelsea deserved to beat dogged West Brom:Conte

Tony Pulis' men went into the game on a four-match unbeaten run but leave West London without reward despite a promising first half in which Salomon Rondon had the best chance.

Chelsea offered little after the restart to suggest it would break the deadlock, with Costa largely anonymous as Willian and Cesc Fabregas were introduced from the bench.

However, after 76 minutes, Costa muscled his way through on the right and blasted a stunning left-footed finish into the top-left corner to settle the contest.

West Brom, who would have been good value for a point, could not hit back, allowing Chelsea to re-establish a three-point cushion at the summit.

The visitors started brightly, with Chris Brunt lashing their first notable effort wide from 20 yards, before Rondon stole possession from David Luiz on the touchline and drove a shot narrowly off target.

Chelsea responded as Pedro directed N'Golo Kante's speculative strike just past the right-hand post, and Costa could not stretch to turn a teasing left-wing cross into the net.

David Luiz dipped a free-kick towards goal shortly before the break, but Ben Foster was down to save comfortably.

Although Foster was sent sprawling as another David Luiz set-piece deflected wide after the restart, Chelsea still could not build momentum.

Matt Phillips took possession from Willian and sought out Rondon in the middle, but Gary Cahill was on hand to make an important block, and produced a similar dive in front of the onrushing Darren Fletcher as a loose ball fell to the midfielder on the edge of the box.

Nemanja Matic dragged an ambitious long-range effort wide, with Willian following suit with a tame effort from the right.

But, with 14 minutes remaining, Costa came up with the goods.

Bustling past Gareth McAuley, Costa created a shooting angle and drilled a thunderous effort past the helpless Foster to finally open the scoring.

West Brom tried to muster a response, but could not forge a serious opening in the final minutes as Chelsea comfortably held firm, Marcos Alonso almost doubling the hosts' lead late on.


Key Opta Stats

- West Brom has played 11 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge without winning (D2 L9), more than at any other ground in the competition.
- Indeed, the Baggies last league win away at Chelsea was in September 1978 (W0 D3 L11).
- Chelsea have won 9 or more Premier League games in a row for the fifth time, more than any other team in the competition.
- The Blues recorded its highest share of possession in a Premier League game this season (66.9 per cent).
- Diego Costa has been involved in 17 goals so far in the Premier League this season (12 goals, 5 assists); more than any other player.
- In fact, Costa has either scored or assisted in 15 of his last 17 Premier League games – only failing to do so against Man Utd and Arsenal this season. 

Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos