They also looked like being the ones to put an end to Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten home league record at Stamford Bridge. But for a last gasp ‘penalty’ they would have.
Leading 2-1 with less than a minute to go, Andre Marriner decided to give Chelsea a penalty after Ramires took a tumble in the penalty box. The midweek villain, Eden Hazard, proved actions say sorry louder than words by converting coolly into the Matthew Harding end of the ground.
Steve Clarke was (rightly) furious. It was soft to say the very least, and the manager pointed out that Southampton profited from a poor penalty decision as did Stoke – again costing the club five points. ‘Little West Bromwich Albion’ as Clarke ironically called them are, on their day, very tough to beat.
Mourinho predictably pointed to the free kick that never was for his side before the second West Brom goal, and claimed his side, not the visitors, were the ones who had cause for complaint.
The misfortunes of West Brom and Andre Marriner’s performance aside, Chelsea have to start asking themselves some serious questions.
They cannot continue to go three at the back in search of a winner – or equaliser – as they have so many times this season. They have to hold onto their leads and bring back the once brick wall like defence.
It is all well and good beating the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City, but to win the league, you cannot drop points to Newcastle and West Brom.
The loss of Fernando Torres was telling. When Mourinho needed a winner, he was forced to put Demba Ba on, whose contribution amounted to stepping over a ball that should have been diverted into the back of the net.
Oscar is also going through a quiet spell, and Hazard may have netted the penalty, but looked lost for most of the game. Playing a right back – Cesar Azpilicueta -at left back is also causing Chelsea some issues going forward.
They cannot get the width they need and against West Brom or another team who play very narrowly in the middle of the park, it is sorely missed. Add this the Petr Cech howler and the overall lack of spark, and the Blues do not look like title winners at the minute.
The thing Chelsea are missing most of all is that player who they can rely on to pop up with a goal when they need it most. It has always been a case of Lampard and Drogba stepping up to the plate.
Yet Drogba is no longer with the club and Lampard is not able to perform like he once did. Now playing a much deeper role, and the one so often sacrificed when things are not going well, the club need their Jose 2.0 saviour.
Mourinho thought that player would be Hazard. It will not. He has come from a club where he had Cristiano Ronaldo. The forward saved his Real Madrid side time and time again. His Inter Milan side had Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder. His Chelsea of old had Lampard and Drogba.
For his new Chelsea side to win titles and have even half the success of his previous clubs, he needs a 2013 saviour. Currently, he does not look like he has one.
Will one be found by dipping into the January transfer market? At this stage, probably not. Perhaps he could just keep hoping Eden Hazard can step up to the plate, or Oscar will mature further. Quite if either will happen this season looks increasingly unlikely.
Here is a thought for Jose. What about the player who has saved Chelsea for the last couple of years? It could well be time to bring Juan Mata back into the fold.
Keeping him on the bench when the likes of Hazard and Oscar look world class is one thing. Keeping him there when they look like they play for a mid-table side is another.
A good manager sticks to his guns. A great manager can admit when it is time to give someone a second chance. Jose thinks he is a great manager. It is time to prove it.
Who can become Jose 2.0’s Special Juan? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.