Chelsea cruised to an easy away win over West Brom to increase the pressure on Baggies manager Tony Pulis.
Alvaro Morata scored his eighth Premier League goal of the season when he converted a rebound after Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster had parried Eden Hazard’s low shot.
Hazard made it 2-0 shortly after when he collected Morata’s flick and took the ball around Foster, before Marcos Alonso volleyed in a third from Cesc Fabregas’ free-kick.
In the second half, Hazard scored his second of the game with a curled finish from 18 yards out after another excellent Fabregas pass.
The victory was Chelsea’s fourth successive league win, while West Brom remain without a win in all competitions since 22 August, a run of 11 games.
Chelsea move up to second, but they will drop down to third if Manchester United beat Newcastle in the late game.
Tough times for Pulis
With Chinese club owner Guochuan Lai at a Hawthorns match for the first time in six weeks, Albion fans booed their side off at half-time and again at the end as their side’s miserable season continued.
Albion won their first three matches in all competitions, but have not won since and this result leaves them 17th in the table, only one point and one place above West Ham.
Pulis, who has been the Albion boss since January 2015, was asked earlier this week if he would be surprised if he lost his job.
He replied: “No, not at all. If the club decide what they decide, I’ve got great respect for the football club, the supporters, the chairman, the board – it’s just life. It’s the way it is. If you don’t get results, you’re under pressure.”
But his side were outplayed by the reigning champions, with Albion only producing two shots on target and never seriously testing away goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Substitute James McClean shot wide when through on goal late on for West Brom, who have only scored three times in their last five matches.
Pulis guided his side to 10th last season, their best finish in four years, but faces an uncertain future after another poor performance from his side.
|Tony Pulis’ record at West Brom|
Big challenges ahead for Chelsea
It was a perfect start for Chelsea in a big week for them.
On Wednesday, they visit Azerbaijan to play Qarabag in the Champions League, knowing a win will secure their place in the last 16. With Chelsea in command at The Hawthorns, Conte was even able to give Fabregas, Hazard and N’Golo Kante a rest in the second half.
The damage was done in the opening 40 minutes with a ruthless Chelsea performance. Foster will feel he should have done better with the first goal as he could only push Hazard’s shot into Morata’s path, before the Spanish striker created the second with a sublime backheel flick that enabled Hazard to round the goalkeeper.
Poor marking from Albion saw Alonso left unmarked to volley in a third from close range, before Hazard sealed the rout with a lovely finish for Chelsea’s fourth.
The visitors, who are next in Premier League action next Saturday with an away game at fifth-placed Liverpool, could have won by a bigger margin, but Morata shot over.
‘I don’t think Pulis can survive this’ – analysis
BBC Final Score pundits Garth Crooks and Martin Keown thought this could be Pulis’ last match in charge of the Baggies.
Crooks said: “Tony Pulis looks a resigned figure on the touchline.
“At the moment, he does not seem to be able to offer anything to his team. The Baggies have been roundly beaten today, while Chelsea have played with a freedom and panache.
“Slaven Bilic cut such a forlorn figure towards the end of his time at West Ham, and that quickened his downfall. The same could be happening here to Pulis. The hatch on the trapdoor is opening.
“It would have been different if they had gone down fighting and lost only 1-0. But the Baggies owners were there watching today. Are they going to give supporters what they want, which would be a new manager?”
Keown added: “I don’t think Tony Pulis can survive this. Partly that’s down to the brand of football – we are coming towards the end of his time at The Hawthorns.
“This sort of poor West Brom performance is game after game. The Baggies need a shot of creativity right through the club. Are the players being asked to play football by the management?
“This has been a long time coming, and this result and performance today is really going to test the resolve of the owner.”
Man of the match – Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Conte celebrates a Premier League landmark in style – stats
- West Brom have lost 17 of their 22 Premier League games against Chelsea, their highest total against an opponent.
- The Baggies have gone 10 league games without a win since mid-August and only earned 12 points from their past 21 fixtures (won two, drew six, lost 13).
- West Brom’s only league victory in 10 home matches spanning eight months was on the opening day of this season against Burnley (drew three, lost six).
- This was Tony Pulis’ joint heaviest home Premier League loss, matching his 4-0 defeats by Man City (October 2016) and Chelsea (January 2013, as Stoke boss).
- This was Antonio Conte’s 50th Premier League game in charge of Chelsea. The reigning champions have earned an unrivalled 118 points under him since the start of last season.
- Chelsea have won 10 of their last 12 away games in the Premier League, losing twice.
‘I’ll keep ploughing along if they want me to’ – reaction
West Brom boss Tony Pulis told BBC Sport: “Our defending for all of the goals was really poor. Against the top teams, you have to defend better than that.
“It leaves me in the position I was in before the game. The board of directors will decide what they have to do. I have been in this position before. It’s up to them. I feel for the players. They have worked hard but they have made basic mistakes.
“I spoke to the owners yesterday; they are really decent people. It’s not about them, it’s about what’s best for the football club. That is more important than anybody. It’s a decision they have to make. I’ll keep ploughing along if they want me to do.”
Things do not get any easier for West Brom and Tony Pulis as they play at Tottenham on Saturday, 25 November (15:00 GMT)
Chelsea face a long trip to Azerbaijan to play Qarabag in the Champions League on Wednesday (17:00 GMT). Antonio Conte’s side are second in Group C and will qualify for the last 16 if they win. After that, Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday, 25 November at Liverpool (17:30 GMT).