West Brom vs Chelsea preview, Betting Tips and Prediction: Blues to pile misery on struggling Pulis
Chelsea to win in both halves
Chelsea to win to nil
Chelsea to win and under 2.5 goals
Chelsea have struggled when travelling to West Brom at times over recent years, but now it is different. Successive wins in 2012 for the Baggies either ended a reign or piled on the pressure for a manager at Stamford Bridge. But suddenly the Hawthorns is a happy place for the Blues after a 1-0 win there in May secured their fifth Premier League title.
That, of course, counts for nothing on Saturday, but Chelsea will still fancy their chances of grabbing three points after coming through a mini crisis to beat Manchester United and their former boss Jose Mourinho 1-0 last time out. The goal came courtesy of Alvaro Morata and ensured Antonio Conte’s side went into the international break in the top four. West Brom are floundering somewhat after a decent start and really do need to pick up points soon. Defeat to newly-promoted Huddersfield last time out has left them in 16th place and just a point above the relegation zone.
Chelsea have had a bag of mixed fortunes in all competitions recently. Their season hit rock bottom with a humiliating Champions League defeat at Roma a few weeks ago, as well as the shock loss at Premier League basemen boys Crystal Palace, the Eagles’ sole league win so far. But the boost that will come from that win over Manchester United could be immense. Conte will not have given up on a successful title defence, but with Manchester City eight points clear if anyone and nine of the Blues, time is running out and it is beginning to appear unlikely.
It has been a tough season for West Brom and Tony Pulis is beginning to feel the pressure a little. As a manager who has built a career on being solid and organised, he must get results to avoid criticism because his style of football is perceived not to be great on the eye. Over the last six games, the results have been poor, with no wins and two draws their return. Alarm bells are not yet ringing, but the ineptitude of Pulis’ side in defeats at newly promoted sides Brighton and just last time out Huddersfield are a real worry. Now is the time for them to stand up and be counted.
Chelsea may only have one injury concern coming into this clash, as Victor Moses nears his return from hamstring trouble, but the biggest story pre-match will be whether David Luiz starts or is even in the squad. Following a reported row with Conte and an extremely poor performance in Rome, the Brazilian was left out of the squad completely for the win over Manchester United before the international break. Conte himself said he “didn’t know” whether Luiz’s Chelsea career was over, but admitted these incidents are “normal” and could happen to any in his squad.
West Brom will be hoping to welcome back midfielder James Morrison after some issues with his achilles tendon, but right back Craig Dawson remains sidelined with a knee injury.