However, everything changed in the space of two minutes. The sending off of Thiago Silva at the half-hour mark for a second bookable offence turned the game on its head.
The Brazilian defender left the pitch with Chelsea leading 1-0, thanks to a goal from Christian Pulisic. The Blues then struggled after going a man down and ended up losing heavily.
Thomas Tuchel’s side went from sublime to disastrous as West Brom run riots in the closing stages of the first half. From 1-0 down, the game stunningly ended 5-2 in favour of the visitors after 90 minutes.
It marked Chelsea's first defeat in 15 games in all competitions under Tuchel.
West Brom humiliate Chelsea
Since Tuchel’s arrival in January, Chelsea have massively improved both in defence and attack. The German has brought back the winning mentality to the London club.
Before Saturday’s game, the Blues had gone 14 matches without tasting defeat under Tuchel, conceding just two goals in the process. However, West Brom served Chelsea a harsh reality check.
Not only did Sam Allardyce’s side beat Chelsea, but they also battered and humiliated the Blues. This was a complete collapse for Tuchel's men, and they were rightly punished.
Matheus Pereira and Callum Robinson both netted braces, while Mbaye Diagne also scored to complete the rout. Chelsea were just not good enough on the day, and West Brom totally deserved their win.
Chelsea’s cracks finally exposed
This was Chelsea’s first defeat since Tuchel took charge in January. But the cracks in the team have always been there. Despite all the clean sheets they were racking up, the team still committed mistakes galore.
Most of their opponents had also not been daring enough to exploit Chelsea's shortcomings. However, against a West Brom side desperately in need of points, Chelsea were brutally exposed.
“We were rusty; we were sloppy in the build-up in our own half; we committed many unforced errors; we did not adapt our positions well under pressure, and we gave away easy balls that led to a red card and that cost us the game today,” Tuchel lamented after the match, as quoted by Chelseafc.com.
The Chelsea manager continued:
“There is absolutely no need to concede five goals if you are one-man down with our quality; but our defending was clearly not on the level it used to be. For the tactical choices, it is, of course, my responsibility.”
Chelsea have been grinding results under Thomas Tuchel, but their performances have not always been impressive.
The underwhelming returns of the Blues' attackers, the sloppiness of their midfielders and the lack of awareness of their defenders – everything finally caught up with the London club, culminating in Saturday’s heavy 5-2 defeat to West Brom.