Prediction: Chelsea to win to nil
West Bromwich Albion have another tough assignment in the Premier League this weekend as they welcome Chelsea to The Hawthorns.
It’s been a tough start to life back in the top flight for the Baggies and boss Slaven Bilic as they continue their search for the first league win of the campaign. Meanwhile, it’s been an up and down beginning to the 2020/21 season for Frank Lampard’s Blues who head into this game looking to lay down a real marker concerning their title aspirations.
West Bromwich Albion
Whilst it could be true to suggest that West Brom could have been given more difficult starts to their new campaign, their first three matches were deceptively hard to negotiate. They first took on a Leicester City side who finished fifth in the Premier League last season, falling to a 3-0 defeat, before taking on a resurgent Everton side led by Carlo Ancelotti and despite taking the lead, eventually succumbed to a 5-2 loss. They have managed to notch a win elsewhere though, claiming a 3-0 success against League Two outfit Harrogate Town in the EFL Cup. Because of their league form though, they will be aiming to avoid an unwanted occurrence by losing three league matches in a row. They have not done that since March 2018, where an eight-match losing run contributed them to losing their place in the Premier League. One of the contributing factors behind their relegation last time out was their poor defensive record, having shipped 56 goals in just 38 matches. That seems to have continued this time around, letting in eight goals in their two matches so far. Should that average continue throughout the campaign then the Baggies could potentially ship 76 goals by May.
Kieran Gibbs will be ineligible for the match against the Londoners after the red card he was awarded in the clash against Everton. Recent loan signing Conor Gallagher will also not be able to play against his parent club. Hal Robson-Kanu is doubtful with a muscular injury and could be restricted to the sidelines alongside Kenneth Zohore. There could well be better news elsewhere, with Ahmed Hegazi and Kamil Grosicki edging closer to returning.
It’s certainly been an inconsistent start for the Stamford Bridge after their summer splurge. The Blues kicked off their campaign by edging past Brighton & Hove Albion before falling to defeat at the hands of reining Premier League champions Liverpool. They put a marker down in their last match though by thumping Championship side Barsnley 6-0 in the Carabao Cup, with Kai Havertz helping himself to a hattrick. That is just the first time that the Londoners have scored six or more goals in a game since a 7-1 success against Grimsby Town exactly a year ago today. One aspect that Lampard and his team will be desperate to improve is their away record in the Premier League. In 2020, Chelsea have only managed to win three out of ten away league games, losing their last two before the win at Brighton on the opening day of the current campaign. That poor record included defeats at the hands of Newcastle United, West Ham United and Sheffield United.
After being withdrawn at half-time in the recent loss to Liverpool, Havertz is likely to start this match following his hat-trick in midweek. However, one man who will not be appearing is Andreas Christensen after his red card in the defeat to Reds. Recent signing Edouard Mendy is also unlikely to be in contention having not trained for some time. Meanwhile, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Billy Gilmour all remain out.
Key Facts To Consider
- Chelsea have a far better all-time head-to-head record between the two sides (W62, D35, L42)
- The Blues have won the last four matches between the sides without conceding a goal
- West Brom have not beaten Chelsea since a 3-0 win in May 2015
- Frank Lampard has only ever lost one match against West Brom as either a player or manager
- There has not been a 0-0 draw between these two sides in a top division match since 1924
With Chelsea’s summer signings now getting their feet firmly under the table at Stamford Bridge, the Blues should start finding their attacking rhythm and against a West Brom side who have struggled defensively, that could only spell trouble. Considering the Blues’ recent record against the Baggies, it should be another relatively straight-forward victory.
Prediction: Chelsea to win to nil
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