Chelsea visit The Hawthorns for a teatime kick off to face a newly promoted West Brom. West Brom, who enter this game week having lost both their Premier League fixtures, will be looking open their tally in the points table. They were dumped out of the EFL cup by Brentford and in the previous 3 games have conceded 10 goals and facing the likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz does not make anything easy for them. Chelsea on the other hand, bounced back from the defeat to Liverpool to beat Barnsley 6-0 in the 3rd round of the EFL cup.
Frank Lampard confirmed that Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech will not be fit for the game. New signing Edouard Mendy will not be featuring either due to lack of training. Thiago Silva and Chilwell will be in contention for the starting 11 today. There were no updates on Billy Gilmour, and it is believed the rest of the squad is fully fit.
Kepa’s error vs Liverpool combined with Willy’s excellent performance against Barnsley will be the reason why Willy would be starting in goal for Chelsea today. Silva is expected to start with Zouma partnering him. Marcos Alonso and Reece James should be flanking Chelsea’s defense. The Blues should be playing with a double pivot of Kante and Kovacic, while Werner who was an unused sub against Barnsley is expected to lead the line for Chelsea. Mount, Kai and Hudson-Odoi are expected to play behind Timo and provide creativity.
Photo courtesy: www.buildlineup.com
Subs: Tammy who had an impressive game against Barnsley is expected to come off the bench. Jorginho could also make a cameo appearance if the need to play long balls is felt.
There is no doubt that Chelsea is missing Pulisic and Ziyech, arguably the most creative players in the team. During their absence, the burden of creativity has fallen on the shoulders of Mason Mount and new signing Kai Havertz. While both lacked creativity in the first two games, they played exceptionally well against Barnsley and will be expected to have a similar game. If they can beat West Brom’s midfield with their movement and quick passing, and pick line breaking passes, it will be a lot easier for Chelsea to edge past West Brom.
Matheus Pereira, West Brom’s Player of the Season plays on the right wing and will be in a 1v1 ground duel with Marcos Alonso. Pereira who scored last weekend is the chief creator for the Baggies, as he already has 2 goal creating actions for West Brom. Slaven Bilic will be planning to exploit the defensive fragility of Marcos Alonso by overloading the right-hand side of the pitch. If Marcos Alonso manages to handle the Brazilian well, WBA will struggle going forward and the goal threat will be substantially low.
1.West Brom have lost more Premier League game against Chelsea than to any other team.
2.Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have kept only one clean sheet in their 20 away games in the Premier League. The Blues’ last clean sheet outside of London was in May 2019 against Leicester.
3.Frank Lampard played West Brom twice in the Championship and winning both. Home 3-1, Away 4-1.
While Chelsea have lost 3 of their last 7 away games to newly promoted sides, very few of them have struggled from the beginning the way West Brom have. Their poor defense does not make anything easy for them either. Thus, I cannot see West Brom winning this one. A comfortable 4-1 victory for the Blues.
Keep The Blue Flag Flying High!!!
*- Anand Prem (CISC- Navi Mumbai)*