In my look back at the Great Escape of 2005, we move on to game 29 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea 1 West Brom 0
The Baggies had to wait nine days before attempting to build on the momentum of beating Birmingham City. The FA Cup intervened once again with the sixth round clearing out the Premier League fixtures for the weekend of 12th/13th March but Albion had their game in hand, their 29th of the season, to play on the following Wednesday.
Having beaten the Blues from the second city, they travelled to the home of the capital’s Blues, Stamford Bridge. This was, of course, Jose Mourinho’s first season in England and it was going well, to say the least. Chelsea had comfortably beaten Albion 4-1 at the Hawthorns in October in what was the first of Frank Burrows’ two games in caretaker charge after Gary Megson’s dismissal. By the time of the return fixture, the title was in their grasp as they sat eight points clear at the top of the table.
A comfortable evening for the league leaders was expected, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. Chelsea dominated the game but missed a host of chances and only managed to score once, through Didier Drogba midway through the first half.
Geoff Horsfield actually had the ball in the net twice but both were ruled out for off side, and the hosts nearly paid for their profligacy in front of goal when Nwankwo Kanu had an effort cleared by the head of Robert Huth.
The victory put Chelsea eleven points clear at the top of the table while, for the Baggies, their most difficult remaining match had been negotiated without a significant hit to their goal difference. They remained five points from safety with nine games remaining.
Premier League Table – 15th March 2005
If you cannot see the table, click here.