In matchweek 12 of the Premier League, reigning champions Chelsea travel to the Hawthorns to face Tony Pulis and his West Bromwich Albion side.
It will be Antonio Conte’s 50th Premier League game in charge and the Blues will certainly hope to celebrate it with a victory. They are currently in fourth place, 1 point behind Tottenham and Manchester United and have a chance to leapfrog both those teams and move to second place, should they lose tonight.
West Brom on the other hand, are struggling in 16th place. The Baggies have won only 2 games in the entire season and are dangerously close to the relegation zone. They haven’t won a game since August and a victory or even a point here will give their morale a huge boost, something desperately needed at the Hawthorns.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom will be without the services of James Morrison and Nacer Chadli for this tie. Only one major change is expected to the side that started and lost 1-0 against Huddersfield in their last Premier League game and that will likely be Rondon coming in for Robson-Kanu upfront.
Pulis is expected to continue with the 3-man defence he used against Huddersfield last week, having tried out the same formation in losses against Arsenal and Manchester City as well.
Ben Foster will likely retain his place in goal while Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans and Ahmed Hegazy make up the back 3. Kieran Gibbs and Allan Nyom will likely be the wingbacks while Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Grzegorz Krychowiak will likely set up shop in midfield with Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon upfront.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Ben Foster; Ahmed Hegazy, Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley; Allan Nyom, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jake Livermore, Gareth Barry, Kieran Gibbs; Salomon Rondon, Jay Rodriguez
Barring Victor Moses, The Blues should have a full strength squad ready to take on the Baggies tonight. David Luiz is expected to return at the heart of defence after sitting out their last game against Manchester United. Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta are likely to start alongside him.
Marcos Alonso and Davide Zappacosta are expected to start at left and right wingback, while N’golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas are all expected to start in midfield. Conte may choose to shuffle things up a bit in the middle by starting Danny Drinkwater.
Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata leading the line. Despite facing a 16th place West Brom, Conte will likely field a full strength first XI tonight and rest some key players when the team head to Azerbaijan next week to face Qarabag.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Gary Cahill; Davide Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, N’golo Kante, Marcos Alonso; Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata
1. Under 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.75
2. Under 4.5 Cards @ 1.61
1. Under 1.5 Match Goals @ 3.25
- Chelsea have won 22 of their 16 Premier League matches against West Bromwich Albion.
- West Bromwich Albion have only managed to get 12 points out of their last 20 Premier League fixtures.
- Chelsea have won 9 of their previous 11 away games in the Premier League, losing twice.
- 10 points after 11 games is West Bromwich Albion’s lowest points tally since the 2005-06 season.
- West Bromwich Albion have won 3 and drawn 1 of the last 6 games against Chelsea at The Hawthorns.
Player To Watch
The Spaniard has been involved in 10 Premier League goals in his first 10 games for the club in the competition, scoring 7 and assisting 3. He is fast establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s finest goalscorers and is already a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge. With Azpilicueta likely to start tonight, he may very well be adding to that tally.
West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Chelsea
While the Blues’ form has been erratic this so far this season, West Brom shouldn’t pose as too much of a threat for Antonio Conte’s men. They will be buoyed by that huge victory against Manchester United a fortnight ago and will look to carry on that momentum forward.
They have a near full strength squad to choose from, one far superior in terms of quality than that of their opponents and should they play to their full potential, the Baggies could be in for a thrashing. However, games aren’t won on paper and Chelsea have been far from convincing this season.
West Brom can take motivation from Chelsea’s losses to Burnley and Crystal Palace and their narrow victories against the likes of Bournemouth and Leicester City. A victory or even a point against the defending Champions will undoubtedly give them a huge boost in confidence and quite possibly help reinvigorate their season.