Chelsea were the architects of their own downfall against relegation battling West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
Leading 1-0 following excellent reactions from Christian Pulisic to adjust his feet and tap home the opening goal Chelsea’s afternoon went downhill from then on.
Thiago Silva had already picked up an early booking for a cynical foul inside five minutes pulling back Matheus Pereira before getting his marching order before the half-hour mark.
The experienced Brazilian defender launched himself in front of an Okay Yokuslu shot but clattered into the midfielder with his follow-through leaving David Coote with little choice but to brandish a second yellow card.
At 1-0 up the Blues were unable to get to the break with their lead intact and following two quick strikes from Pereira the Baggies led 2-1 at half-time.
Thomas Tuchel was unable to turn the tide ruing the break and West Brom scored two counter-attack goals against the ten men to take a 4-1 lead.
Moments before Mbaye Diagne added the Baggies fourth Matteo Kovacic’s frustrations got the better of the midfielder.
Referee Coote booked the Croatian follow a poor tackle but Kovacic made it clear for all to hear that he did not agree with the officials decision, shouting loudly in Coote’s direction:
“Shame on you. Yeah, yeah, well done. Worst ref ever,” as reported by football.london’s Chelsea correspondent Adam Newson.
The Blues did mount a spirited fightback from 4-1 down though. Half-time substitute Mason Mount tapped home a simple finish following an unselfish bit of play from Timo Werner to provide the assist to make it 4-2.
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However, it was too little too late for Tuchel’s team as Chelsea fell to their first loss since the German took over from Frank Lampard in January, with a late Callum Robinson strike making it 5-2 by the final whistle.
With West Ham and Spurs still to play this weekend the shock defeat to Sam Allardyce’s team could see the Blues end the weekend down in 6th place behind both of their London rivals, in what is turning into a very tight battle for the top four spots.