Chelsea’s much publicised defensive issues were on full show tonight as Frank Lampard’s side needed an injury-time equaliser to salvage a draw against West Brom after the west London outfit had found themselves 3-0 down at half-time.
Slaven Bilic’s Baggies got off to the perfect start by taking the lead after just four minutes, Irish international Callum Robinson opening his account for the season by firing a left-footed effort past Willy Caballero from the edge of the area.
Chelsea almost equalised on a couple of occasions soon afterwards, but both Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner were unable to keep their efforts down after being found in space in the box.
Frank Lampard handed veteran Brazilian Thiago Silva his Premier League debut and the captains armband in the hope of shoring up his side’s leaky defence, but Chelsea would find themselves two behind on 25 minutes with the 36-year-old centre-back very much the culprit. The former PSG man let a simple pass from Mateo Kovacic to roll under his foot, which allowed Robinson to break free and fire past Caballero for his second of the night.
Just two minutes later things would go from bad to worse for the Blues, West Brom defender Kyle Bartley calmly stroking home from six yards after a well-worked corner to give the newly-promoted side a shock 3-0 lead.
10 minutes into the second-half and Chelsea had a lifeline, England midfielder Mason Mount smashing a dipping strike past Sam Johnstone from 25 yards out.
On 69 minutes the Blues would pull another one back, substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi finishing off a neat passage of play with a composed finish into the bottom corner.
Despite Chelsea piling on the pressure in search of the equaliser, the Baggies defended resolutely and looked to be on the verge of sealing their first win of the season as the game entered its dying stages. However, three minutes into injury time Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham pounced on a parried Mason Mount shot to tap home from close range and break the Baggies hearts.
Speaking afterwards Blues forward Abraham admitted his side made life difficult for themselves with their sloppy first-half performance.
“In the first half we made it difficult for ourselves,” Abraham told Sky Sports.
”I had a chance I should have put away and one I should be taking at this level. They scored from every shot. We knew we had to come out in the second half and not drop our heads – and that’s what we did.”
The 22-year-old England international revealed Chelsea manager Lampard had let his team know their performance during the opening period was nowhere near good enough and admitted the Blues will need to cut out the individual mistakes if they are to improve.
“We all went in and our heads were down and he had to lift us up,” Abraham said.
”He said we didn’t look like a team ready to go out and win and we needed to pick each other up in the second half. Thankfully Mason [Mount] got the goal which meant we could believe.
”I knew we’d get chances but to come back from 3-0 is never easy. The boys deserve credit, they kept going.”
“We need to cut out the mistakes as a team so we don’t concede. We need to be strong together and keep encouraging one another.”
Next up for Chelsea is a trip to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium to face London rivals Spurs in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, before they host Crystal Palace in a Premier League clash next Saturday.