After a fantastic victory at Manchester City, Chelsea are now three points clear at the top of the Premier League. They look to have a favourable schedule over Christmas, and that starts with the visit of West Brom this weekend. Can they continue their amazing winning run when Tony Pulis’ side visit Stamford Bridge at midday on Sunday?
After eight consecutive wins, the Blues are obviously heavy favourites to take the points here. Chelsea are looking more and more like title contenders each week, and that was shown by the manner of their win at City. Now they need to build on that, and ensure they aren’t caught out by the recent upturn in form of their next few opponents. This may also be the time for Antonio Conte to think about a little rotation.
Team News: Has Fabregas tied up starting spot?
Last weekend saw Nemanja Matic drop out of the team, with Cesc Fabregas replacing him. That was a surprising inclusion, the Spaniard didn’t seem suited to a holding role in a trip to the Etihad. He was impressive, and he supplied the assist for the equaliser. Could that have earned the former Barcelona man a place in the side for this Sunday’s game? You’d imagine he’s going to get more freedom to create in a game like this, and that could help Eden Hazard and Pedro kick on even more.
John Terry missed the game at the Etihad, he’s still a doubt for this game, although he’d likely be limited to the bench anyway. While Gary Cahill scored an own goal last weekend, it’s hard to see Conte making any changes to his back five. Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel are still searching for fitness, so they’re unlikely to be involved. It’s hard to see too many changes for this game, the settled side that the manager has been using is paying off. Although, they can’t play every game in December. At some stage, changes are needed.
West Brom are set to be without Saido Berahino, although he’s barely kicked a ball for them all season. Aside from that, the Baggies have a fully fit squad for this weekend’s game. They’ve hit a good spell of form themselves, so it’s hard to see too many changes to a winning side.
West Brom Form
West Brom’s win last weekend lifted them to seventh in the table, they’re just starting to hit form ahead of the Christmas period. They’ve won three and drawn one of their last four, which has restored faith in Pulis. They’ve gone from the verge of a relegation fight to the edge of the European spots, but can that rise continue? If they could claim three points here, it would a hugely impressive victory for the Baggies.
West Brom’s strong record doesn’t include their recent away from, which is really poor. They’ve won just one of their last seven on the road, which includes a League Cup elimination to Northampton. They drew 1-1 with Hull last time out, and the Tigers are one of the worst sides in the league. While West Brom are in good form, they are yet to repeat that on their travels.
Chelsea v West Brom Head to Head
The Baggies really troubled Chelsea last season, although most sides did. The Blues conceded twice in both games, but they took four points from those meetings. While they don’t have the best record up against West Brom, that’s mostly in their trips to the Hawthorns. In their last 11 trips to the Bridge, WBA have taken just a single point. That isn’t the kind of record which will fill their fans with confidence ahead of this one.
- Chelsea 2-2 West Brom Jan 2016
- West Brom 2-3 Chelsea, Aug 2015
- West Brom 3-0 Chelsea, May 2015
- Chelsea 2-0 West Brom, Nov 2014
- West Brom 1-1 Chelsea, Feb 2014
- Eden Hazard to score anytime – 19/20 with BetVictor
- Chelsea to win and both teams to score – 21/10 with Coral
It’s hardly a surprise that Chelsea come into this game as big favourites. They’re usually expected to beat West Brom, but now they have an eight game winning streak to continue. There’s a lot of talk about the fixture calendar, with Chelsea facing five very winnable games between now and the end of the year. Their next big challenge will be a trip to White Hart Lane in the New Year, but can they continue their form going into that one? Given their record over West Brom, it’s easy to see them continuing their strong run on Sunday.
Eden Hazard has revealed a joke agreement he has with Diego Costa over the big individual awards. The Belgian said he’ll give the striker the Golden Boot, as long as he can win back the Player of the Year trophy he took in 2015. He’s certainly in with a chance, and he could well threaten Costa’s hopes of finishing as top scorer. Hazard is joint fourth on the scoring charts, three off the Spain international. His highest tally across a season is 14 goals but now he has eight in just 14 games. Given his form, we think the Belgian is worth backing to score again this weekend. He has nine in his last 12 for club and country, and he’s 19/20 with BetVictor to add to that this weekend.
While we see a home win, it might not be as straight forward as Conte would like. The defence is now looking a little more open, having conceded in their last two. There were a few worrying moments in the game at City. West Brom have scored in all but one of their last nine away league games. We can see them scoring in a defeat here, which is why we’re backing Chelsea and both teams to score at 21/10 with Coral.