Pedro scores as Chelsea kickstart stuttering campaign

Reuters , Sunday 23 Aug 2015

Chelsea new-signing Pedro during the 3-2 win at West Bromwich (Photo: Reuters)

Pedro scored a debut goal as champions Chelsea got their stuttering Premier League campaign off the ground with an entertaining 3-2 victory against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

Chelsea, who had taken one point from their opening two matches, were indebted to Thibaut Courtois who saved James Morrison's early penalty before Pedro, signed this week from Barcelona, poked home in the 20th minute.

Diego Costa converted Pedro's shot in the 30th minute, Morrison atoned for his earlier penalty miss to pull a goal back five minutes later before Cesar Azpilicueta restored Chelsea's two-goal cushion in the 42nd minute.

John Terry, who was substituted for the first time ever under Jose Mourinho during last week's loss to Manchester City, was dismissed for bringing down Salomon Rondon and though Morrison added his second, Chelsea held on to register their first victory of the season.

"He's (Pedro) Fantastic," Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas told Sky Sports. "I knew straight away he would make an impact on this team because it was something we did not have.

"A pacy player that could go behind defenders, can dribble, can go one-against-one and stretches teams. I knew straight away the mentality of this guy is fantastic and I'm very happy for him."

Following their poor start to the season Chelsea started nervously and seemed destined to fall behind when Nemanja Matic brought down Callum McManaman. But Morrison's penalty, straight down the middle, was saved by the returning Courtois.

Sparked by that early scare Chelsea settled into their passing rhythm with Eden Hazard linking up with Pedro before the Spaniard squirmed a shot inside the post.

Pedro was then the architect of the second with his angled shot turned in by Costa 10 minutes later.

Morrison fired home through a melee of bodies to halt Chelsea's momentum before Azpilicueta netted his first Premier League goal three minutes before halftime.

After the break Chelsea captain Terry ended a forgettable week with a red card after he brought down the Baggies' record signing Rondon as he surged clear.

Without their defensive lynchpin Chelsea were vulnerable and Morrison guided a header past Courtois five minutes later to set up a tense final 30 minutes.

Thereafter the hosts laid siege to Chelsea's goal but the champions held firm and even had chances to win it themselves through Costa, Hazard and substitute Radamel Falcao.

Later on Sunday Manchester City take their 100 percent record to Goodison Park to face Everton while Southampton visit promoted Watford.

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