Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Sunday, October 23 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 23/20 – Draw 9/4 – Man Utd 5/2 

Match Preview

Chelsea take on Manchester United and welcome back Jose Mourinho on Sunday in what is set to be arguably their biggest game of the season so far.

The Blues have been inconsistent over their last five games. They’ve only picked up seven points from a possible 15, but have won their last two.

Antonio Conte was pleased with Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Leicester last weekend. He has seen his side put in some strong performances since opting for a formation change to his more familiar 3-5-2.

This is going to be a huge occasion for Chelsea fans and a number of players who won the league with Mourinho just two seasons ago. He should receive a warm reception but he will quickly be reminded that he is ‘the enemy’ once the game kicks off.

Embed from Getty Images

Manchester United have been in a poor run of form domestically, picking up just five points from the last 15 on offer.

Mourinho tightened things up defensively against Liverpool in their last Premier League game, but allowed his side to play with more freedom in their Europa League demolition in midweek. Paul Pogba starred in that game, scoring twice. He will be looking to continue to prove doubters wrong here.

The emotions will be high for Mourinho on his second return as an opposition manager to Stamford Bridge, much of the build up has focused on him as United manager, which may well help to keep a little pressure off some of his underperforming stars.

Manchester United will be looking to put an end to an unwanted run of ten without a win against Chelsea in all compeitions. Mourinho won his only other visit to the Bridge as an opposition manager and he will be desperate to win here.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Chelsea will still be without Kurt Zouma as he continues his recovery from a long term knee injury. John Terry has been declared fit by Conte. Oscar, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas and John Obi Mikel were all unavailable for selection last weekend, they remain doubts. It remains to be seen whether Willian will return from compassionate leave.

Manchester United could be without Chris Smalling as he came off in their midweek Europa League with a muscle injury. Phil Jones remains out, while Morgan Schneiderlin is a doubt.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: D/L/L/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: L/L/W/D/D

Key Stat: Chelsea are unbeaten against Manchester United in their last ten meetings in all competitions.

Key Player: Diego Costa – Chelsea’s goal-machine and talisman will be itching to keep his goalscoring run going this weekend. Costa is the Premier League’s top scorer with seven.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United – There have been four draws in the last five meetings between these two sides. Chelsea have struggled against the so-called ‘top sides’ this season and will be desperate to extend their unbeaten run to three. Manchester United to draw their third on the bounce, but importantly avoid defeat away from home in a difficult fixture.

Advertisements

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea FC vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, October 15 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/7 – Draw 16/5 – Leicester 9/2

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome champions Leicester to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the opening game of the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

The Blues are clearly still in a rebuilding phase after last season. They have looked inconsistent and vulnerable in a number of games already.

Antonio Conte’s side won 2-0 away at Hull in their last Premier League outing, three points they desperately needed, having lost their previous two games.

Chelsea are already a way off the pace in the title race. They’re sitting 7th, five points off the top and three outside of the top four.

Embed from Getty Images

Leicester City are also in a run of unfavourable form. They have won just two of their seven games this season and are just four points above the relegation zone.

The Foxes have struggled against the so-called ‘big sides’ this season and have failed to pick up points in games they seemed to breeze through in their title-winning campaign.

Claudio Ranieri’s side come into this one having drawn 0-0 against Southampton. Although Leicester are performing well in the Champions League, they are struggling to relay that form domestically.

Leicester have to see this as a tie they can pick up a positive result in. Chelsea conceded twice in their last league game at Stamford Bridge and have looked shaky defensively.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Chelsea are expected to be handed a defensive boost with the return of their captain John Terry. Kurt Zouma and John Obi Mikel are both expected to be out, while Victor Moses is a doubt. Willian is unavailable for selection due the passing of his mother this week.

Leicester City’s squad is in good shape for this tie. They are only expecting to be without Matthew James, so Claudio Ranieri has the luxury of a strong bench regardless of what starting XI he selects.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Leicester’s last five: W/L/W/L/D

Key Stat: These two sides have been inconsistent in their last five games, picking up the same amount of points (7).

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Premier League’s leading goal scorer this season has been in fine form. Costa has netted six times

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester – Chelsea to come unstuck at home once again. They are looking far better than last season but defensive problems are there for all to see. Leicester need to begin picking up points to avoid being drawn into a rut of form. This would be a good result for Ranieri’s side, who posses the ability to damage Chelsea on the counter attack.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Friday, September 16 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 5/4 – Draw 5/2 – Liverpool 2/1

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Friday night in a game that is one you usually do not want to miss.

Chelsea come into this one having drawn in their controversial game against Swansea. Regardless of what happened in that tie, Chelsea should not have allowed their opponents back into the game.

Despite drawing 2-2, there were a lot of positives for Chelsea. They created a huge amount of chances and a number of their players are relishing life under Antonio Conte.

This is arguably Chelsea’s toughest tie of the season so far and they are welcoming a Liverpool side who have been scoring freely.

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool come into this one having demolished Leicester 4-1 last weekend. Jurgen Klopp’s side looked dangerous in the final third but conceded through a shocking defensive error.

Although Liverpool have scored nine goals in the Premier League this season, they have conceded seven. This will be a concern for Klopp as they face a Chelsea side who have averaged at least two goals a game in their opening four league games.

Liverpool won their last Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge but know they are facing a very different Chelsea side this time around.

This game has the makings of a cracker. In their eight matches combined this season, Liverpool and Chelsea have overseen 29 goals scored/conceded.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Chelsea have two injury concerns heading into this tie. Kurt Zouma remains out and captain John Terry is unavailable after rolling his ankle late on against Swansea, which is a huge blow for Chelsea. David Luiz is in line to make his second Chelsea debut in Terry’s absence.

Liverpool are expected to be without Emre Can, while Mamadou Sakho and Joseph Gomez are both doubts.

Key Points

Chelsea’s form: W/W/W/D

Liverpool’s form: W/L/D/W

Key Stat: Home form – Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 games at Stamford Bridge.

Key Player: Diego Costa – The controversial Spaniard has netted in every game in the Premier League so far this season. He looks to be at his confident best and he’ll be looking to cause havoc to a Liverpool defence that has looked suspect at times in their opening four league games.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool – Both of these sides have been playing in incredibly intense, end-to-end games this season and at some point the pace is bound to drop slightly. Chelsea could well have a slightly more cautious approach considering how their second half unfolded against Swansea, while Liverpool will not want to give Chelsea as many opportunities as they have to opponents so far this season.

Will this be Conte’s best Chelsea lineup this season?

Chelsea left it late again to take all three points at the weekend in a performance that showed they lacked creativity in the final third and weaknesses in defence. While Antonio Conte’s men have got six points from a possible six, they are yet to show any real cutting edge, but as we know, winning games in the style they have is exactly what potential champions do.

While their early form doesn’t suggest Chelsea will win the title this season, they are already grinding out results when needing to. If they can improve performances they will be in a great position to challenge for silverware this term.

It’s obvious there is still work to be done at Chelsea for them to improve. Conte has made it clear he wants another defender and rightly so, as there have been the same defensive issues troubling them in the early stages of this season that were apparent throughout the disappointing 2015/16 campaign.

Conte has been making game-changing substitutions that have without question won Chelsea both of their matches so far. So let’s have a look at their potential best starting lineup and how a formation change could be needed to improve their performances from here on out.

Potential starting XI via lineupbuilder.com

Potential starting XI via lineupbuilder.com

As we can see above, the 4-1-3-2 is a less common formation but something that has a lot of potential to work for Chelsea. Regardless of who has been in charge at the club, 4-2-3-1 has been the preferred Chelsea formation, but it has become predictable and is showing signs of weakness.

The 4-1-3-2 formation allows a completely different dynamic to the setup. While the apparent strength of attacking wingers – who both play high up the pitch and drop in for defensive play – is still a key theme, the option of two strikers will provide a headache for opposition defenders.

Forward play:

Michy Batshuayi has to be starting alongside Diego Costa. The two have played less than a half of football together this season and already appear to have a telepathic relationship brewing. Batshuayi’s knockdown to Costa allowed the Spaniard to net the winner in their opening game against West Ham and both strikers were on the scoresheet at the weekend, with the goals finally coming while they were both on the pitch.

Having a striker next to him affords Costa more room to manoeuvre, get in behind and go unnoticed as he is not up against both centre-backs at the same time.

Embed from Getty Images

In the middle: 

Chelsea lacked creativity throughout their game against Watford at the weekend and it was only when Cesc Fabregas came on that they looked threatening. Fabregas creates so much room for his teammates both on and off the ball, as opponents know they cannot afford to give him space. As soon as the Spaniard gets on the ball he is looking for a defence-splitting pass or to bring a winger into play.

Having Fabregas come in for Matic also allows Kante to drop into the deeper anchoring role on his own, where he is at his best. Kante can then break up play and continually feed Fabregas with the ball rather than having to try and be a creator himself.

Service to the wingers and forwards was evidently weak in the game against Watford, while the partnership of Matic and Kante is excellent defensively, the pair offer little creativity going forward.

Embed from Getty Images

At the back:

Chelsea still look lacklustre at the back. The positioning of their defenders was to blame for going behind to a screamer of a strike at the weekend, while an inability to clear the ball properly under-pressure in their first game saw their backline breached.

In an ideal starting lineup, Kurt Zouma would play for Chelsea but as we know, he is still a long way off playing. Zouma’s pace and strength make him a great option at right-back, a position where Branislav Ivanovic appears to be struggling.

Embed from Getty Images

Playing this XI also leaves an incredibly strong bench to change things if they aren’t going well for Conte, although many would argue the likes of Oscar, Matic, Ivanovic, Pedro and Victor Moses should be getting a look in to start games.

Moses has made a great impact in both his appearances off the bench this season, while the likes of Matic, Pedro and Ivanovic have somewhat struggled to show their class in the early stages.

Playing a 4-1-3-2 formation would also be beneficial for Oscar, as although he may not start every game ahead of Fabregas he still has the ability to take up other positions such as on the wing or rotate throughout the season in the number ten role.

While we aren’t suggesting Conte will opt for this style of play it is something that could potentially work for Chelsea and make them less predictable going forward. It is going to be interesting to see if the Italian makes any further signings before the window closes and how they will continue to lineup in the coming weeks.

Should Chelsea opt for a different formation? Does Batshuayi need to be starting alongside Costa from now on?

Three players Conte should bring to Chelsea this summer

Chelsea’s Premier League struggles in the 2015/16 season were well documented. Their defence of the title was shambolic and incoming boss Antonio Conte has a huge task on his hands to rebuild the side. Lewis Addley explores three top performers from Serie A who would improve the current Chelsea squad…

Strengthening the Chelsea squad is going to be the first area for Conte to address this summer after so many lapsed performances from the title winning side of just 12 months ago.

Chelsea have been renowned for a strong core through the middle of the pitch during their successful seasons and this is something they lacked in the 2015/16 campaign.

With Conte’s Serie A experience in mind let’s have a look at three potential suitors from the league who could stabilise Chelsea and become the new generation of core players.

Kostas Manolas 

The Roma centre-back had an impressive 2015/16 season and strikes a number of qualities which arguably make him a good suitor for the Premier League. He is a hard tackler who can play out from the back, something clubs are looking for in modern-day defenders.

Embed from Getty Images

So let’s have a look at how the 24-year-old Greek international performed in the 15/16 season. He won’t come cheap and a number of clubs may be more tempting for Manolas, who will want to be playing Champions League football.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.44.17

Key stats from Manolas in the 2015/16 Serie A season

As we can see Manolas played all but one game, averaging more than one tackle per game, nearly two interceptions per game, 4.3 clearances per game and he won 76% of his aerial duels. The Roma defender’s stats show how often he was in the right position

Radja Nainggolan 

The Chelsea midfield lacked its industrial side through 15/16 and left its defence vulnerable to oncoming attacks in practically every game. Again from Roma, Nainggolan possesses the ability to break up play, move the ball quickly and keep things simple. He’s performance levels have alerted a number of the top clubs in Europe and he would surely come with a hefty price tag.

Embed from Getty Images

Nainggolan is 28, so he is in his prime and fitness providing, he could potentially offer six more years at the highest level. Let’s have a look at his key stats in Serie A from the 15/16 season.

Nainggolan

Nainggolan’s key stats in the 15/16 Serie A season

The standout stat for Nainggolan is his pass accuracy, coming in at 85%. He averaged 1.4 tackles won per game and 1.3 interceptions per game. Nainggolan also adds the occasional goal and creates chances for teammates, both of which aren’t the main focus of his game, so he clearly has the all-round quality to be a success in the Premier League.

Gonzalo Higuain 

Chelsea lacked quality in depth in striking options last season and the mixed bag of Radamel Falcao, Loic Remy and Alexandre Pato were insufficient support for Diego Costa, who too had a quiet campaign in front of goal.

Embed from Getty Images

Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain had far from a quiet season, he netted 36 times and broke the 66-year long standing record of 35 goals. The Argentine forward has a wealth of experience and at 28 he would be an ideal striker for just about any club in Europe.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.00.32

As we can see, Higuain scored more than one goal a game, an incredible stat every striker strives to achieve. He set up two goals along the way and created 51 chances for teammates. His shot accuracy and pass accuracy may look a little low, but when you’ve scored as many as he did they are not concerning stats.

If Conte was to sign Higuain and play him alongside Costa he would have one of the most physical and deadly strike partnerships in the Premier League. Problems could well arise if Costa remains at Chelsea and Conte only opts for a lone striker, as neither of the two will be happy sitting on the bench.

While these signings are hypothetical at this stage it is worth mentioning the potential newcomers at Chelsea would be in for a tougher challenge in a more competitive Premier League.

However, as the stats mentioned suggest all three of these players are top performers and would be expected to improve the four-time Premier League champions and fire them back into a side capable of challenging on all fronts.

Would the Chelsea squad improve with these potential signings? Will Conte be given the funding needed to revamp Chelsea?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Chelsea

Venue: Anfield – Wednesday, April 20 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 19/20 – Draw 11/4 – Chelsea 13/5

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Anfield on Wednesday night in the penultimate game of the Premier League season for both sides.

The Reds come into this one off the back of their 2-0 home win against Watford which ended a run of two games without a victory.

Jurgen Klopp will have eyes on next week’s Europa League final against Sevilla so may rest players but he will be itching for his side to finish the season in the highest position possible, which could potentially be 5th if results go their way. 

Liverpool have only lost one of their last 12 home games in the Premier League and are unbeaten in their last seven at Anfield. They have scored 18 goals in those seven games.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea’s dismal season took another low blow at the weekend as they twice threw away the lead against Sunderland.

Guus Hiddink’s time as interim manager is coming to an end and he has watched Chelsea struggle in recent weeks as they have won just two of their last eight league games.

Chelsea are unbeaten at Anfield in their last four visits, winning two and drawing two, but given their current form and the way their season has gone, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that run came to an end here.

The Blues have already lost to Liverpool this season, the reverse fixture ending in a 3-1 loss in one of Klopp’s first games as manager. Chelsea could potentially finish as low as 13th if results go against them so they need to finish the season with as much dignity as possible and rebuild ahead of the next campaign.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Liverpool have five injury concerns as Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Danny Ings, Divock Origi and Jordan Rossiter are all out. Mamadou Sakho is still suspended following the ongoing investigation after his failed blood test.

Chelsea have just three injury concerns. Loic Remy and Kurt Zouma are expected to be out while Pedro is a doubt after he missed the trip to Sunderland. John Terry is serving the first of his two-match ban following his sending off at the weekend in what looks to be a bitter end to his Chelsea career.

Key Points

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/D/L/W

Chelsea’s last five: L/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: Fast start – The opening goal of this fixture has been scored within the first ten minutes in four of the last five meetings in the Premier League. 

Key Player: Daniel Sturridge – The Englishman has scored eight goals in a season riddled with injuries. He will want to get one over on his former club and impress Klopp in the hope of securing a starting position for the Europa League final.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Liverpool 3-1 Chelsea – Liverpool have been scoring freely at home and face a Chelsea side who will be willing the season to end. Klopp may rest some players but will be fielding a team to win this game and he will expect nothing less in a tie which usually has plenty of action. 

John Terry moves closer to MLS move as Chelsea career set to finish

John Terry will not get his fairytale ending by retiring with Chelsea FC, it has today been revealed by the player, with a summer move to Major League Soccer now highly likely.

Terry has arguably been Chelsea’s most iconic player of all time. He has certainly been the club’s best leader, captaining the side to 16 major honours, but his 18-year career with the Blues will come to an end in June.

The 35-year-old centre-back revealed his contract will not be extended after leading the team to a 5-1 FA Cup win at MK Dons on Sunday afternoon.

Embed from Getty Images

“It’s not going to be a fairytale, I’m not going to retire at Chelsea,” Terry said.

“The club will move on. No player is ever bigger than the club. Ideally I would have loved to stay, but the club’s moving in a different direction.”

At 35, Terry is in a position where retirement would make sense, but the four-time Premier League winner thinks he still has a couple more years left in him and wants to play for another club before ending his playing career.

He has ruled out a move to another Premier League team and that paves the way for an MLS move this summer, especially when you consider he has previously spoken of a desire to play in the USA.

When asked if he could play for another English club back in December, Terry responded by claiming America would be an attractive option so long as it would suit his family.

“No chance. America, maybe. But physically I feel like I can still play. Do I want to play? Of course I do. But then decisions come into it with your family. What if you go somewhere and it doesn’t work out? Everything else comes into play, doesn’t it?”

Embed from Getty Images

There would be no shortage of interested parties if Terry does secure a move to MLS, though he would likely demand to be a Designated Player and that would rule a few sides out of the running.

It will be interesting to see if he signs a pre-contract agreement in the coming weeks, just as former England teammates Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard did over the past couple of years, but for now the Blues captain will remain fully focused on his final months in a Chelsea shirt.

“My performance isn’t going to change – the way I train, what I give for the club. I want to give everything and finish on a high, on 100 per cent good terms with the club.”

Has John Terry been Chelsea’s most iconic player in the club’s history? Would a move to MLS be good for him, as well as the league?

Five Premier League players that could make free transfers to MLS in 2016

The January transfer window is about to open in Europe and the Premier League is always one of the most intriguing league when it comes to transfer news and rumours.

As well as the fact that teams can negotiate transfer deals, clubs can also start to negotiate with players under the age of 24 who have just six months remaining on their current deals, with the hope of sealing a pre-contract agreement.

That second part is particularly important for Major League Soccer as several MLS sides will look to make pre-contract agreements with Premier League players who could then join for free in the summer.

Steven Gerrard was signed by LA Galaxy in this way last year, while Kevin Doyle also signed a pre-contract agreement with the Colorado Rapids last year.

But who could make the move across the Atlantic this year? We look at five possible moves below:

1. John Terry

Embed from Getty Images

The long-term Chelsea captain is likely to be playing his final season with the Blues and may even decide to hang up his boots. That seems unlikely though as Terry has spoken of his desire to play on for a few years longer. A move to MLS has been talked about since Terry revealed it’s something he would consider last year.

“I would love to finish my career at Chelsea and maybe there is a time when I look to go to play in America or whatever might be best for my family at the time,” Terry told TalkSport in May 2015.

He would surely be signed on a Designated Player contract were he to agree a move stateside and would add crucial leadership and experience to any locker room in MLS.

2. Mathieu Flamini

Embed from Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Flamini has just six months remaining on his current deal and doesn’t look set to extend that as things stand. Having previously revealed MLS is something he would consider, the Frenchman could find himself playing on American soil by the time the summer arrives.

Flamini would add steel to any team’s midfield and would bring bundles of experience with him. Plenty of teams will be keeping one eye on the 31-year-old Frenchman.

3. Mikel Arteta

Embed from Getty Images

Sticking with Arsenal midfielders and Mikel Arteta is another who could make the switch to MLS this summer, having fallen down the pecking order at the Emirates this season.

Arteta is unlikely to be offered a contract extension and will therefore be free to negotiate with any possible future employers from January. Arteta is a good friend of NYCFC’s David Villa and has previously spoken glowingly about MLS.

“The game in the US is definitely going in the right direction, so there’s a real opportunity for players to come over from Europe,” the Spaniard said in 2014.

4. Kolo Toure

Embed from Getty Images

Kolo Toure has previously been linked with a move across the Atlantic but with just six months left on his Liverpool deal now, the Ivorian centre-back could make the move for free, making any transfer more appealing for MLS sides.

The New York Red Bulls reportedly offered Toure a two-year deal in the summer but no move came to fruition. Six months on and more offers could be laid on the table for the out-of-favour Reds defender.

5. Stephane Sessegnon

Embed from Getty Images

The final name on this list is West Bromwich Albion’s Stephane Sessegnon, who would add pace and creativity to multiple sides in Major League Soccer. He struggled to get into Tony Pulis’ team early on this season but has played in ten of West Brom’s last eleven league games.

That said, it is still unclear whether a new contract will be offered to the Benin international and so clubs around the world may be keeping a close eye on the playmaker.

He would suit the fast-paced playing style seen in MLS and could be an interesting addition to the league if any team reaches out.

Which of the players above do you think will move to MLS in 2016? Are there any others you think could make the switch?

 

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Everton vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Everton vs. Chelsea 

Venue: Goodison Park – Saturday, September 12 – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Everton 3/1 – Draw 23/10 – Chelsea 19/20

Match Preview 

Premier League action returns this weekend after the international break with Everton hosting the struggling champions Chelsea.

Roberto Martinez’s side have made an inconsistent start to the season and will want to kick on to give them every chance of pushing for a Champions League spot. They will see this as a chance to take points from a well below-par Chelsea side.

Everton have some tricky fixtures coming up and will want to head into them full of confidence, a win in this one would be the perfect way to come back after the two week break.

This fixture ended 6-3 to Chelsea last season, with both sides having shocking defensive performances that afternoon. We can expect a far tighter tie this time around.

A key aspect of the tie will be how John Stones performs, he will be under the spotlight after the summer transfer saga with Chelsea and he has the opportunity here to show Everton fans why the club pushed so hard to ensure he stayed.

Embed from Getty Images

This game is a must win for Chelsea and if they fail to do so, even this early on in the season, will have a major impact on their defence of the Premier League as it will give Manchester City the chance to go 11 points clear at the top.

Jose Mourinho’s side have had an awful start to the season and come into the game off the back of their 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace before the international break. Their upcoming fixtures will become even harder if they don’t take at least a point here.

Mourinho may reshuffle his side once again as many of his stars have struggled to get going in their opening four games.

Eden Hazard had another below-par performance for Belgium but did score late on in their game against Cyprus. He came under criticism and praise from his national coach, who said he would have been subbed were it not for his ability to come up with the goods late on. Chelsea desperately need their key man to step it up a gear and get them back on track.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News  

Everton’s injury woes continue with seven players expected to miss out. Leighton Baines is out until November as he is recovering from an ankle injury. Tom Cleverley, Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson and Steven Pienaar are sidelined, while Byran Oviedo and Brendan Galloway are doubts.

Chelsea are expected to be without Thibaut Courtois, who picked up a knee injury in training and Oscar remains a doubt. John Terry is available again after his suspension and Baba Rahman could deputise for Branislav Ivanovic who has had a poor start to the season. If Rahman does play we can expect Cesar Azpilicueta to be switched to right back to allow the Ghanian to make his debut in his natural position of left back.

Key Points 

Everton’s form: D/W/L/D

Chelsea’s form: D/L/W/L

Key Stat: Chelsea are unbeaten in 34 of their last 38 meetings against Everton in all competitions.

Key Player: Romelu Lukaku – The former Chelsea man will be looking to take advantage of their poor start to the season and will no doubt be a handful for whoever Jose Mourinho selects in defence. The Belgian international has started the season well, scoring two in four appearances and will hope he can score his first goal against Chelsea.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Everton 2-1 Chelsea – The champions problems to continue in a fixture which they never find easy.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea

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

Match Preview

West Bromwich Albion have another tricky fixture as they host Chelsea this weekend. Both sides are still looking for their first win of the season.

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

Team News

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.

Key Points

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

Score Prediction

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.