West Bromwich Albion
Saturday, 22nd November 2014 1500 GMT
Stamford Bridge, London
West Bromwich Albion and their fans make the journey from England’s second city to its capital hoping for a happy return journey with one – if not three – points in the bag.
The Baggies are in the unenviable position of being Chelsea’s next ‘target’ as they race towards the title and hope to continue their unbeaten run. The former came dangerously close to taking all three points away from Stamford Bridge last season but this season it looks like a different matter. An alleged Ramires dive earned Chelsea a 96th minute penalty in that fixture to get a point, but Jose Mourinho will be hoping to have a much easier outing against the 13th placed West Brom this time around.
This is also the first match at Stamford Bridge since Mourinho’s comments about the atmosphere there and it will be interesting to see how the crowd reacts to it. They have plenty of reasons to sing about anyway, top of the Premier League, top of their group in the Champions League and going strong off the pitch with a newly announced 20 million pound profit.
Team news and tactics
The second-highest scorer in the League and highest assist-maker were rested from the recent international break which would have given both Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas time to rest their injured hamstrings. Andre Schurrle is a slight doubt after he missed Germany’s games with illness but is expected to be fit for Saturday.
Chelsea will line up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Fabregas and Nemanja Matic sitting in front of the back four. Costa will lead the line in attack supported by Oscar, Eden Hazard and Willian behind him in midfield. The Blues have majorly relied on the two aforementioned Spaniards to get them goals and even in this match will look to them to provide inspiration. A strong back four ably assisted by an excellent goalkeeper have been Chelsea’s strength so far with Mourinho looking to continue in the same vein of form.
The home side was given a scare last time around the Baggies came visiting and John Terry and his men will hope for a much smoother ride this time around.
Possible lineup: Courtois (GK); Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Hazard, Oscar, Willian; Costa.
West Bromwich Albion
The Baggies come into this match on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle and with injuries to Jonas Olsson and Sebastian Pocognoli. The latter is a fitness-test away from selection while the former is definitely ruled out of this match. Alan Irvine will be glad to welcome back Craig Gardner back into the squad after an injury lay-off.
Saido Berahino has been the talk of the town thanks to his recent England call-up and all eyes will be on him as he leads the Baggies’ attack in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The aforementioned Gardner and James Morrison will sit deep in midfield and try to take on a strong Chelsea midfield head-on. Stephane Sessegnon will play just off Berahino in a number 10 role being supported by Chris Brunt and Dorrans on the wings. The usual back four of Andre Wisdom, Jolean Lescott, Craig Dawson and Cristian Gamboa expected to replace Pocognoli if he fails the fitness test.
The Baggies have the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League so far in Berahino and will be counting on his recent crest of form to carry them to three points away from home.
Possible lineup: Foster (GK), Wisdom, Lescott, Dawson, Gamboa; Brunt, Dorrans, Gardner, Morrison; Sessegnon, Berahino.
- Chelsea have won 27 of their last 32 home matches in the Premier League.
- Chelsea have scored at least 2 goals in 24 of their last 29 home matches in the Premier League.
- West Brom’s Saido Berahino is the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League with seven goals.
Player to watch out for
Diego Costa (Chelsea)
Well rested and raring to go, the Spaniard will be the man to watch as the crowd at Stamford Bridge cheers on (or maybe not). Costa is the second-highest scorer in the League and is playing catch-up with Sergio Aguero in terms of goals scored.
Chelsea 2 – 0 West Brom
All said and done it should be an easy outing for the Londoners as they look to continue their great start to the season. West Brom should provide a tough fight but the Blues’ midfield should be too strong for the side from Birmingham.