The Chelsea squad may just have saved Antonio Conte's job - at least for the time being - after putting in quite the spirited performance to beat Premier League bottom-feeders West Brom 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
The Blues started the match under some real pressure, with Conte's future hanging in the balance off of the back of two consecutive losses to Bournemouth and Watford.
But the Italian must have been happy to welcome Alvaro Morata back to the squad. The former Real Madrid forward hadn't played since getting sent off against Norwich on January 17th and his presence certainly seemed a breath of fresh air.
January acquisition Olivier Giroud would get to make his first start for the club since his sensational switch from rivals Arsenal, while Andreas Christensen returned to the lineup after injuring his hamstring in the Bournemouth match.
Alan Pardew came into the match needing a result as well, with the Baggies winning just one match in their last 24. But with loan signing, Daniel Sturridge, lurking about, there was always a huge chance.
The Liverpool man's tenure was short-lived, though. He would be off after just three minutes following an unfortunate and untimely injury, and Jay Rodriguez came on to replace.
The visitors are forced into a change within the opening couple of minutes as Jay Rodriguez replaces the injured Daniel Sturridge. #CHEWBA— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 12, 2018
(You may also be interested in: Gianfranco Zola Claims Antonio Conte Isn't the Main Problem at Chelsea Despite Woeful Form of Late
The loss did very little to upset West Brom, and they did well to keep the Blues on the back foot during the opening minutes.
A mistake from Victor Moses nearly gifted Pardew's men a goal, when the full-back miscued a backpass that fell to an unmarked Rodriguez at the top of the box. Not realising that there was time to take a few touches, the forward shot at the soonest of opportunities, failing to even hit the target.
The home side, however, got the match's first shot on target. Cesar Azpilicueta found Giroud with a cross from deep and the Frenchman's touch resulted in Davide Zappacosta getting a shot off from point-blank range. Ben Foster proved the better man on that occasion, making a remarkable save to keep scores level.
Giroud got an opportunity of his own just a few moments later after Eden Hazard found him unmarked in the box. Foster came up with another save, which was mostly down to the forward going for placement instead of power.
Much better from Chelsea in the last few minutes with both Zappacosta and Giroud going close to opening the scoring, but it remains goalless. #CHEWBA— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 12, 2018
The Frenchman made his mark in the 25th minute, playing Hazard in with a neat pass in the box following some impressive one-two movement between themselves. Giroud's layoff left the Belgian with just Foster to beat, and he did so with vicious aplomb, smashing the ball past the hapless stopper.
Hazard's strike put him on 14 for the season, with 10 of them in the Premier League and three coming against West Brom, following a brace in the first encounter at the Hawthorns in November.
Eden Hazard: Has now scored 10 Premier League goals for the season. He has reached double figures in four of his six league campaigns for Chelsea— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 12, 2018
Full match statistics: https://t.co/2F4GTUtYPv #CHEWBA pic.twitter.com/JhSb2pf3QT
The Blues headed into the half with a 1-0 lead, obviously feeling much better about themselves than they did in their last two matches, but also needing to add to their lead.
Pardew began the second half without Chris Brunt, having replaced the winger with Oliver Burke in an effort to inject a bit of pace.
A bandaged and banged-up Giroud was taken off in the 60th minute and replaced by Morata, much to the delight of the Stamford Bridge crowd.
Oliver Giroud by the time this match is over. pic.twitter.com/72IwlbfJwP— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 12, 2018
The Blues would double their lead in the 63rd through Moses, who got on the end of Cesc Fabregas's deflected pass to slot past Foster from close range. The Nigerian nearly put Chelsea up 3-0 moments later after cutting in on his left from the right flank to blast a low shot goalwards.
Foster was up to the task this time around but was not able to stop Hazard's strike following similar circumstances to what led to Moses's shot about a minute later.
The diminutive magician beat the Baggies keeper with another forceful shot, giving his side a 3-0 lead against a crestfallen West Brom side seemingly headed for the drop after winning just three games all season.
Conte's men cruised to the finish line, quite happy to finally get both a win and a clean sheet after a turbulent period. The Londoners also climbed back into the top four with the victory, having dropped out when Tottenham beat Arsenal on the weekend.
Conte lives to fight another day!
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Zappacosta; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.
Bench: Caballero, Cahill, Ampadu, Emerson, Drinkwater, Willian, Morata.
West Brom: Foster, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Phillips, Krychowiak, Barry, Brunt, Sturridge, Rondon
Bench: Nyom, Yacob, Myhill, McClean, Burke, Rodriguez, McAuley