Fabregas sees red as Baggies stun Chelsea
West Brom 3 Chelsea 0
Published 19/05/2015 | 02:30
Saido Berahino scored twice and was an all-round, high-class irritant to Chelsea's defence as West Brom embarrassed the champions, who had Cesc Fabregas dismissed for a ridiculous act, kicking the ball at Chris Brunt.
Brunt added the third goal for the Baggies but it was Berahino who deserved the headlines.
There is constant talk about the 21-year-old's future and this was another reminder of his quality, and why he will be coveted by others.
From Albion's perspective, it is vital to keep Berahino as he suits Tony Pulis' tactics so well. For 79 minutes, he was a tireless frontrunner and he took his goals well - the first a firm drive and the second an emphatic penalty.
Berahino was substituted with 11 minutes remaining, being replaced by Brown Ideye, and passing Izzy Brown on the way.
There is still some anger at The Hawthorns over how the attacker left them, bringing to mind the words of chairman Jeremy Peace, who was frustrated his club received around only £1m for the youngster.
"Izzy played against Wigan when he was 16 for us, and we lost him the following year,'' said Peace earlier this season.
"He just didn't come back for pre-season. It's the carrot dangled in front of the parents. It will be interesting to see who ends up furthest (Berahino or Brown)."
Brown was greeted with jeers and chants of "one greedy b******" and "Izzy " what's the score?".
After the respectful guard of honour, Albion had set about the champions, who were simply second best from the first whistle, despite the exhortations of their travelling support.
Darren Fletcher's free-kick from the right was neatly steered to safety by John Terry and Callum McManaman's shot was pushed away by Thibaut Courtois before Berahino struck after eight minutes.
Joleon Lescott delivered the ball in from the left for the unmarked Berahino, who was lurking on the edge of the area. As Gary Cahill vainfully tried to close him down, Berahino unleashed his shot into the net.
Ending a 10-game drought, Berahino's 13th Premier League goal of the season meant he has now scored more in the Premier League than Wayne Rooney.
Of contenders for Roy Hodgson's squad to be announced on Thursday, only Charlie Austin (17) and Harry Kane (20) have scored more and Berahino was to move closer to them in the second half.
Chelsea awoke briefly. Diego Costa played in Eden Hazard, whose shot was deflected over. But then came Fabregas's moment of madness.
Costa began the handbags convention, pushing his marker who was being constantly hailed by the Albion fans with the chant of "Gareth McAuley is better than JT".
As Mike Jones was cautioning Costa, the usual arguments broke out, particularly between Lescott and Branislav Ivanovic.
The ball had fallen away to the right and Fabregas decided to contribute to the discourse from afar.
With one touch he knocked it five yards forward and, with his next, Fabregas thumped the ball towards the debating society that had gathered around Jones.
Chelsea rather diplomatically explained via Twitter that "Fabregas was sent off for kicking the ball in the direction of a group of players, and it hit an Albion player".
In a way, Fabregas was fortunate that the ball hit Brunt. Its next stop would have been Jones, which would have brought a far longer ban than the three games he is likely to receive for violent conduct.
Chelsea tried to rally but, although Costa was now in full feisty mood, Albion were in charge and playing with freedom and invention.
Lescott turned into Franz Beckenbauer briefly, embarking on a dribble. Claudio Yacob put in an elegant flick. Brunt brought a good low save from Courtois.
West Brom started the second half sharper, quickly doubling their lead. When Brunt played the ball through, Berahino turned brilliantly. Showing a rare lack of composure and timing this season, Terry dived in and brought Berahino down. West Brom's No 18 thundered in the penalty, his 14th Premier League goal of the season.
Albion fans were loving it, chanting towards the Chelsea faithful: "Champions of England? You're having a laugh!"
The visiting supporters immediately hit back with: "Champions of England - you'll never sing that!" (Apart from 1920).
Watching their team disintegrate, Chelsea fans contented themselves with a 20-minute chant of "We've won the league".
They paused briefly when Loïc Rémy hit a post but it was West Brom supporters who were celebrating again. When Brunt cut in from the right, Chelsea's defence was again sluggish, allowing him to drill his left-footed shot past Courtois. (© Daily Telegraph, London)