WEST BROMWICH // Two goals from Nicolas Anelka helped Chelsea beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday to claim a league-record 10th consecutive away win. Chelsea defied the cold and rain to better their previous record set in the 2004-05 season on nine consecutive away wins and rebounded from their embarrassing League Cup exit in midweek to Championship side Burnley. Chelsea stayed at the top of the league, leading Liverpool on goal difference with both clubs on 32 points after 13 matches. West Brom remain bottom with 11 points.
"Our away record has been fantastic," the Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel said. "We have been playing very well away from home, creating chances and scoring lots of goals." The West Brom goalkeeper Scott Carson was at fault for the opening goal in the 34th minute after being beaten at his near post by a speculative left-foot strike from the Portugal defender Jose Bosingwa from 20 yards out. It appeared to surprise Carson, who could only help the ball into the net.
The French striker Anelka doubled Chelsea's lead four minutes later when he ran on to Florent Malouda's header down the left wing and finished with a deft chip over Carson from close range. The contest was as good as over seconds before half-time when Anelka slotted home his league-leading 12th goal of the season. After a neat exchange of passes, Salomon Kalou broke through the middle and supplied Anelka on the left and his side-footed, first-time shot beat Carson at his near post. "We kept them at bay but their first goal was huge," the West Brom manager Tony Mowbray said. "To ship three goals before half-time was disappointing. Once the big teams score, they are able to relax and play at their own tempo. The result was no disgrace for us."
After a poor start to the season, Anelka now has eight goals in his last four games and is keeping Didier Drogba on the sidelines with his impressive form. "When you receive the ball one or two times, 10 times, and you don't score, some players in the team lose confidence in him," the Chelsea manager Felipe Scolari said of his in-form finisher. "But when he receives the ball one or two times and scores, players try to give more chances to Anelka for him to score more."