Competition: Premier League – West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea
Venue: The Hawthorns – Sunday, August 23 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)
Match Odds: West Bromwich Albion 9/2 – Draw 11/4 – Chelsea 8/13
West Brom picked up their first point of the season last weekend in their 0-0 draw against promoted Watford. Tony Pulis’ side are yet to score in either of their games this season, but new signing Salomon Rondon has been bought in to lead the line.
The Baggies last win came over the Premier League champions at the back end of last season. Pulis’ side had a good preseason but have struggled to relay that form so far this campaign.
It is difficult to tell whether or not this is a good time for West Brom to play the defending champions, as although they are out of form they will see this a good chance to pick up their first win of the season.Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea have had a very poor start to the season and even this early on, trailing Manchester City by five points is a concern for Mourinho.
Last weekends demolition at the hands of City seems to have sparked the Blues back into life in the transfer market. Having signed Pedro they are now being linked with Juventus’ Paul Pogba. The future of John Stones remains unclear but it is obvious he is a player Chelsea are hoping to sign.
This is Chelsea’s worst start to a Premier League season since 1998/99 and they cannot afford to drop more points in this one. The pressure is certainly on Jose Mourinho and his players will be all too aware of the wrath they could potentially face from the boss and fans alike if they do not win here.Embed from Getty Images
West Brom are still missing Ben Foster. Salomon Rondon will be hoping to start and show what he can do against a struggling Chelsea defence. Joleon Lescott will be hopeful of regaining his first team place after being left out of the 0-0 draw with Watford.
Jose Mourinho could bring Thibaut Courtois back into the starting line-up after he served his one game suspension. Asmir Begovic will certainly feel hard done by if this is the case as he without question was Chelsea’s best player on the pitch last weekend and stopped the scoreline from being anymore humiliating. Victor Moses and Oscar look set to be sidelined, while new signing Baba Rahman is tipped to start at left-back, pushing Cesar Azpilicueta into his more natural position of right-back. Branislav Ivanovic could find himself on the bench after he has struggled to find form this season. The decision to look out for is whether or not Mourinho starts John Terry after his substitution last weekend. Pedro may well feature but it remains to be seen whether or not he will start. Lots of talking points for the potential Chelsea line-up and there will no doubt be some controversy.
West Brom’s form: L/D
Chelsea’s form: D/L
Key Stat: Leaky – Only Sunderland (seven) have conceded more goals than Chelsea so far this season, not a stat you could have imagined hearing just two weeks ago.
Key Player: Nemanja Matic – The big Serbian’s performance will be vital to how this game goes for the defending champions. If he can control the midfield, marshall the back-four and steady the ship Chelsea stand a great chance of picking up three points.Embed from Getty Images
West Brom 1-1 Chelsea – West Brom to pick up a solid point against a disorganised, struggling Chelsea side. Pulis will know his side can frustrate Jose Mourinho’s men which will lead to their weaknesses showing yet again on the pitch.