Venue: The Hawthorns
Date: Saturday, 17 November
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
Our fortunes have definitely turned around recently – and not in our favour – and we’ve seen ourself going from top of the table with a 4-point gap to 3rd with a 3-point deficit. And with three games without a win, having lost to West Brom away last season anyway, we could probably have done without catching them at a time when they seem to be in pretty good form right now.
West Brom manager was always a favourite at Stamford Bridge (even if he spoiled it temporarily by going to Liverpool) although we can forget all that sentimental stuff this afternoon. Mind you, with John Terry out again, this time through injury and Mata, Oscar and Hazard all slightly less fresh than we’d like them to be after midweek internationals, we’ll have our work cut out at the Hawthorns today.
Steve Clarke comes into this game pretty confident given West Brom’s form so far this season, and ahead of this afternoon’s meeting with his former club says “Although everybody is saying stay calm, supporters can get carried away a little bit if they want – they can dream. Every week we look as though we can get a positive result.”
Roberto Di Matteo meanwhile, isn’t under-estimating the importance of today’s game, or any other game for that matter and says “For us, every week and every game is a match that defines our path, really. Last week the game against Shakhtar (Donetsk) was a defining game. This one now, in the league against West Brom, then the Champions League and Manchester City. Every game we play can define our season, and the games after too.”
For West Brom, Ben Foster (groin) is out and there are doubts over Gareth McAuley and Youssouf Mulumbu (both hamstring). Romelu Lukaku is ineligible to face us.
For Chelsea, John Terry (knee) is injured, whilst Ashley Cole (hamstring) and Frank Lampard (calf) are doubtful. Oscar and David Luiz will be assessed for fitness following their trip to the USA midweek.
WEST BROM (Possible line-up): Boaz Myhill; Billy Jones, Gabriel Tamas, Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell; James Morrison, Claudio Yacob, Youssouf Mulumbu, Chris Brunt; Pete Odemwingie, Shane Long.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand; John Obi Mikel, Ramires; Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata; Fernando Torres.
West Brom 1-0 Chelsea (3rd March 2012)
It’s all doom and gloom for this prediction I’m afraid. We’re already 3 games without a win, conceding at least once in all of our last 6 games in the league. Fifth place West Brom meanwhile have taken 15 from a possible 18 at the Hawthorns this season (only dropping points to City). They’ve kept clean sheets in four of their last six wins and they’ve won their last two games. By sheer coincidence, it would seem the last time they won three successive games was between February-March – and guess who were the third victims of that sequence?
It isn’t looking good for us today folks!