Chelsea face newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League, the Blues seeking to bounce back after their limp display against Liverpool on Sunday.
Here’s all you need to know about Saturday’s meeting at the Hawthorns:
How have they started the season?
Slaven Bilic’s men have endured a rude awakening to life in top tier following back-to-back defeats to Leicester City and then Carlo Ancelotti’s new-look Everton side.
The opening weekend saw the Foxes late show condemn the Baggies to defeat, as two Jamie Vardy penalties put the game beyond doubt, before last weekend’s trip to Goodison Park produced one of the most entertaining matches in a gameweek filled to the brim with high-scoring affairs.
West Brom made a lively start and were quickly ahead through former West Ham man Grady Diangana, yet goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and James Rodriguez as well as a foolish Kieran Gibbs red card made it an uphill battle heading in to the second-half. Despite a valiant display with 10 men and a delightful Matheus Pereira equaliser, the Toffees’ quality and man advantage was simply too much for Bilic’s newly-promoted side.
The Baggies had found some respite in the Carabao Cup, yet after progressing through the second round their run was ended courtesy of a penalty shootout defeat to Brentford on Tuesday evening. Those cup exploits mean that Saturday’s clash will be West Brom’s fifth game already this season, while Bilic will be forced to make changes due to Gibbs’ suspension – new signing Branislav Ivanovic could be in line for a second successive start having featured in midweek.
It’s been a somewhat underwhelming start to life at Stamford Bridge so far this season, although Wednesday night did see Kai Havertz claim his first senior hattrick as Chelsea ran riot to thump Championship side Barnsley 6-0.
As for their league form, the opening weekend saw Chelsea perhaps lucky to snatch all three points against a resilient Brighton side, in a game where defender Reece James showcased his growing importance to the side with a thunderous effort to put the Blues ahead.
Chelsea were looking to make it two wins from two and put down a real statement of intent against Liverpool at the weekend, yet an Andreas Christensen red card and another Kepa Arrizabalaga error gifted the away side victory – the Spaniard’s days are beginning to look numbered following the signing of Rennes stopper Edouard Mendy.
As they prepare for the trip to the Hawthorns, Frank Lampard will once again be without Hakim Ziyech and Billy Gilmour, while Christian Pulisic remains a doubt with a thigh injury. On a more positive note, Chelsea’s midweek action did see debuts and valuable game time handed to Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell, both perhaps in contention to feature on Saturday.
Last Meeting – Chelsea 3-0 West Brom, 12 February 2018
A lot has changed since the last time these two sides met, with West Brom having been away from the Premier League due to their relegation at the end of the 2017/18 season.
Chelsea were the defending champions, yet head coach Antonio Conte had been under pressure after a poor run of form that had left the Blues fourth, while the visitors found themselves rooted to the bottom of the table.
As expected, the home side dominated proceedings through the genius of Eden Hazard, the Belgian grabbing goals either side of a fortunate Victor Moses effort. That 3-0 result effectively condemned Alan Pardew’s side to relegation and an ensuing two-year spell in the second tier, while Chelsea would go on to finish fifth and see manager Conte depart.
Predicted Line ups
West Brom: Johnstone; Furlong, O’Shea, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend; Sawyers, Livermore; Diangana, Pereira, Robinson.
Chelsea: Kepa; James, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso; Kovacic, Kante, Jorginho; Mount, Havertz, Werner.
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK and Irish readers can watch the match on Sky Sports Main Event
What time is kick off?
West Brom 8/1