LONDON — Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel suffered the first defeat of his reign as struggling West Bromwich Albion took advantage of Thiago Silva’s red card to earn a stunning 5-2 win yesterday.
Tuchel had overseen a 14-match unbeaten run in all competitions since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard in January.
But that impressive start came to an embarrassing end as West Brom ran riot at Stamford Bridge.
Christian Pulisic put Chelsea ahead early in the first half, only for Brazil defender Thiago to get his marching orders moments later for a second booking.
That proved the turning point as Albion’s Matheus Pereira struck twice in first half stoppage-time.
Mbaye Diagne grabbed West Brom’s third goal and Callum Robinson netted twice to leave Tuchel shell-shocked.
Mason Mount’s reply was no consolation as Chelsea’s bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top four finish in the Premier League suffered a significant blow.
The Blues, beaten for the first time in 10 league games, remain fourth for now, but both West Ham and Tottenham would go above them if they win tomorrow and today respectively.
“We were unable to cope with the red card. I don’t know why. We gave away two very easy goals,” Tuchel said.
“What could go wrong went wrong after the red card. Every shot was a goal from them.”
After conceding just two goals to start Tuchel’s reign, this was a rude awakening for Chelsea.
For the first time since 2011 against Arsenal, Chelsea surrendered five goals at home in the league.
It was the worst possible preparation for their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Porto on Wednesday.
“It’s important we digest it. I did not see it coming, now we have to take our responsibilities – me included – and shake it off,” Tuchel said.
“It’s a wake-up call. We will get the right response.”
West Brom remain second bottom, but their first league win at Chelsea since 1978 gives them a glimmer of hope in the fight to avoid relegation.
Thiago was making his first Chelsea start since February 4 after recovering from a thigh problem, but he was completely out of touch on his return.
EPL results and fixtures
Yesterday: Chelsea 2-5 West Bromwich Albion, Leeds 2-1 Sheffield United, Leicester City 0-2 Manchester City, Arsenal vs Liverpool
Today’s fixtures: Southampton v Burnley (St Mary Stadium, 1pm), Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur (St. James Park, 3:05pm), Aston Villa v Fulham, (Villa Park, 5:30pm), Manchester United v Brighton Hove Albion (Old Trafford, 8:30pm).