Pedro sparkles for Chelsea on his debut
New signing makes immediate impact but Chelsea still feel the blues in defence
WEST BROM 2
(James Morrison 35, 59)
(Pedro Rodriguez 20, Diego Costa 30, Cesar Azpilicueta 42)
REPORTING FROM THE UK
It was more a mission accomplished than a crisis averted.
Far from dominant and beset with frailties, Chelsea's first win of the English Premier League season was an imperfect one.
Though it was not exactly the wet, windy Tuesday night in Stoke against which Barcelona exports are often, and predictably measured, Pedro Rodriguez's dazzling performance on a dank Sunday afternoon at The Hawthorns breathed much-needed life into Jose Mourinho's ailing attack.
With a goal and an assist inside 29 minutes of his debut, the £21 million ($46.2m) that the Londoners handed the reigning European champions to snare the forward from Manchester United's clutches would appear to be small change if the title returns to Stamford Bridge next May.
Relations between Mourinho and those at the Nou Camp appear to be thawing. Where he would previously been firmly rebuffed in his approach to lure any player away from Catalonia, he has signed two in as many summers - both from under his EPL rivals' noses.
A slight deflection off the inside of Jonas Olsson's left leg mattered little when Pedro broke the deadlock, following a neat interchange with Eden Hazard.
That vision proved a further asset just 10 minutes later when an inch-perfect pass saw Diego Costa elude the offside trap to slide home at the far post.
Had his fellow Spain international and Willian possessed greater finesse when gifted further chances in front of goal, Pedro's assist tally could have easily trebled.
Whether he can prove as significant a catalyst for Chelsea's renewed assault on their crown as Cesc Fabregas did en route to last year's romp to the title remains to be seen.
Mourinho's side still lack stability at the opposing end of the field, with his ongoing search for John Terry's long-term successor remaining a salient point even in the throes of victory.
Where last week the evergreen captain was benched at half-time in a point-proving exercise to owner Roman Abramovich, Gary Cahill was rested from the offset in favour of Kurt Zouma.
That ploy almost proved costly, when Nemanja Matic's foul on Callum McManaman in a besieged Chelsea defence offered West Bromwich Albion the opportunity of an early lead. Only Thibaut Courtois' knees denied James Morrison from the penalty spot.
Salomon Rondon's overhead kick to find Morrison was inspired as the hosts reduced the deficit, but Cesar Azpilicueta's element of surprise at the other end ensured it would be short-lived.
Those questions over the defensive frailties continue with Terry, last season's talisman by playing every minute of their surge to the EPL title, bettering last weekend's half-time substitution by little more than eight minutes, when he was sent off for a second bookable offence following a foul on Rondon.
Everton's valuation on John Stones will have increased by another £10m in the wake of Chelsea's defensive horror show, particularly when Morrison rose above Matic to head home McManaman's cross past Courtois.
With three of their last four encounters finding favour with its custodians, Chelsea managers have come to dread encounters at the Hawthorns. After those results saw off two of Mourinho's predecessors, it is little wonder.
The self-styled Special One was unlikely to suffer a similar fate to Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto di Matteo but, on his 300th game at the helm, his elation at the final whistle told its own story.
I prefer to have no views. I prefer to try to keep quiet. I know many people are disappointed with this result. People love chelsea to lose again. The feeling is we are fighting against a lot. But today we won.
— Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho on John Terry's red card against West Brom
BY THE NUMBERS
6 Pedro Rodriguez is the sixth Spaniard to score for Chelsea after Asie del Horno, Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa.
2 James Morrison's saved penalty against Chelsea is their second miss in their last three attempts in the Premier League.
5 John Terry's red card against West Brom is his first sending-off in the Premier League since April 2010 (v Spurs) and his fifth overall.
Pedro enjoys his debut
Pedro Rodriguez declared himself "very happy", after scoring one goal and making another on his debut to help Chelsea to a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League yesterday.
Having arrived from Barcelona earlier this week, Pedro was thrust straight into action by manager Jose Mourinho on the right flank.
He opened his account with a deflected shot before teeing up Diego Costa for their second.
Despite the second-half dismissal of John Terry for a professional foul, the visitors held out for their first league win of the season.
"I enjoyed my debut a lot with this team. I'm very happy for the victory," Pedro told Sky Sports.
Asked if it had been important to score, he replied: "It's important for me, for my integration in the team. I'm very happy."
Cesc Fabregas, who plays alongside Pedro for Spain and was a former teammate of his at Barcelona, was not surprised to see the 28-year-old make such a speedy contribution.
"I knew straight away he would make an impact in this team," Fabregas said.
"It was something that we basically didn't have in our team, this pacy player that goes behind defenders, can dribble, goes one against one.
"He goes behind defenders, stretches teams. In the side we have Diego, we have (Loic) Remy that does that, but on the wings, Willian, Eden (Hazard), they like more the ball at their feet.
"So I knew straight away the mentality of this guy is fantastic and I'm very happy for him." - AFP.