West Brom v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: The Hawthorns
Date: Monday, 18 May
Kick-off: 20:00 BST

Whilst the footballing world continues to mourn the loss of Steven Gerrard – well, Liverpool and their press buddies anyway – I expect we’ll slip tonight’s game in pretty much unnoticed. We’re only the Premier League Champions after all.
For those who do still have an interest in this season’s non-history Champions though, tonight’s game sees us travel to The Hawthorns for our penultimate game of the season against West Brom.
Chelsea go into this game unbeaten in 16 games and a goal against West Brom tonight would set a new club Premier League record for most away goals in a season. Although with West Brom keeping clean sheets in 3 of their last 4, Mourinho has no doubt focused on set pieces in training to manipulate the Baggies’ Achilles heel.

MANAGER’S VIEWS’
Going into tonight’s game, West Brom boss Tony Pulis praises his opposing manager, saying “You can’t criticise the man at all. I worked with Stevie Holland at Stoke. He really rates Jose, as a manager and coach. The way he works is exceptional. He gets the best out of people. He’s got an edge about him that makes him win. He knows what it takes. There are certain people who have that special edge.
You judge people on what they’ve got to work with. He works with the top, top players at the top, top clubs. There is an elite group in every league, but there have still got to be winners and losers, Jose usually ends up being a winner.”

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho meanwhile, says “We all need to respect the game and play for the best result. We are going to try (for) the maximum possible points. I’m happy that West Bromwich Albion is also champion of their league and they don’t need points. So no pressure for us, no pressure for them. But for sure they want to win the last game at home and for sure we want to try the maximum points.
To be champion is to be champion, one point more, one point less. But the reality the maximum points possible, the better. The more distance you have to the second, the better. And we are going to try.”

SQUAD NEWS
For West Brom, Ben Foster remains a long term absentee. Callum McManaman (foot) is available and both Saido Berahino and Brown Ideye are pushing for starts.
For Chelsea, Cech (calf) is doubtful, whilst Ramires (kidney), Kurt Zouma (knee) and Oscar (thigh) will miss the rest of the season. Having played every Premier League minute of the season so far, it’s a fair bet the captain will decline any offers of rotation from the boss today.

TEAMS
WEST BROM (Possible line-up): Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Lescott, Brunt, Gardner, Mulumbu, Yacob, Fletcher, Morrison, Anichebe
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Luis, Matic, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Fabregas, Hazard, Remy

LAST SEASON
West Brom 1-1 Chelsea (11 February 2014)

CURRENT FORM
WEST BROM: LLWDWD
CHELSEA: WWDWWD

OTHER STUFF
•West Brom are unbeaten in three games against Chelsea at home
•West Brom have lost just two of their last six Premier League games with Chelsea
•West Brom are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games
•West Brom have gone three matches without a win at home
•West Brom have kept clean sheets in three of their last four games
•West Brom have conceded a league-high 20 goals from set pieces this season
•Tony Pulis has won only one of his 12 Premier League games as a manager against Chelsea
•Chelsea are unbeaten in 16 league matches
•Chelsea have won six of their last seven away games in the league.
•Chelsea have kept a league-high 17 clean sheets in 36 games this season.

PREDICTION
We’ve got a decent run of away wins on the go but West Brom haven’t done too badly against us at home of late. Pulis doesn’t fair quite so well against Chelsea though……..a point apiece on the cards again maybe?

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