WEST Brom’s striker Daniel Sturridge has broken down with injury just three minutes into their 3-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a match which leaves the Baggies at the bottom of the Premier League ladder.
Olivier Giroud started the match for Chelsea and played on an assist for the first of Eden Hazard’s two goals, while Victor Moses also got on the scoresheet.
But it was the injury to Sturridge which started off the match and summed up the Liverpool loanee’s last five years.
It was only this pre-season where Sturridge looked at his scintillating best for Liverpool, only to tear his hamstring in the process of scoring a gem against Bayern Munich. He missed large chunks of the season in red, before being shipped out on loan to West Brom in January.
But as he raced towards the sideline in the first moments of the match, the England international pulled up lame and was immediately removed.
His replacement, Jay Rodriguez, had by far the best chance of a bright start from the visitors when he latched onto Moses’s wayward defensive header, but dragged his shot wide with just Thibaut Courtois to beat.
Giroud passed up a huge opportunity to mark his Stamford Bridge bow in Chelsea blue with a goal when his weak right-footed effort was easily smothered by Ben Foster on 20 minutes.
But the French international made amends by providing the pass for the opener as a neat one-two opened the space for Hazard to fire his 14th goal of the season into the bottom corner.
West Brom only had themselves to blame for not getting back into the game early in the second period.
Salomon Rondon fired too close to Courtois after outmuscling Andreas Christensen despite Chelsea claims for a foul on the Dane.
And, from the resulting corner, Jonny Evans headed inches over the bar. Moments later, Pardew’s men were 2-0 down as Moses latched onto Cesc Fabregas’s deflected pass to slot low past Foster.
Hazard then capped a welcome win when he cut inside before drilling a left-footed shot inside Foster’s near post.
Conte’s name was loudly sung by the Chelsea faithful in a clear show of support for their manager.
However, far tougher tests await following Hull City’s visit in the FA Cup on Friday.
Firstly, Barcelona visit the Bridge in the Champions League last 16 in eight days time before back-to-back Premier League visits to Manchester to face United and City.
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