Chelsea v West Brom: Five key things to look out for

Talking Points Chelsea

Antonio Conte will be hoping Chelsea can put the horror shows of recent weeks behind them when they take on relegation-threatened West Brom on Monday night.

Chelsea suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat at Watford last time out which saw pressure mount on the under-fire Conte. The Italian will be hoping his deflated side can pick up all three points at Stamford Bridge against rock-bottom West Brom.

Here are the five key things to look out for in this contest:

#1 Olivier Giroud to start?

The January recruit made his debut during the defeat against Watford on Monday night when he came on as a late substitute. Despite Giroud failing to find the back of the net, he did provide something different and a little sparkle for his new side. It won’t be a surprise to see Conte start the Frenchman against the Albion, with Eden Hazard currently looking like the only Chelsea player who could be a threat to opposition teams.

#2 A change in midfield

To the relief of the Chelsea supporters, out-of-sorts Tiemoue Bakayoko will be suspended for the Albion game after he was sent off at Vicarage Road. This could see, either Cesc Fabregas or Danny Drinkwater partner N’Golo Kante in the middle of the park, a change the Stamford Bridge supporters will welcome with open arms.

#3 A change in defence?

One area in which Chelsea have struggled in recent weeks has been in defence. The London club have looked fragile and very open at the back, particularly during their last two encounters. With key man Andreas Christensen on the sidelines with an injury, Conte opted to start the experienced trio of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill against the Hornets. It is fair to say that didn’t work out, with Cahill looking particularly poor. As a result, summer signing Antonio Rudiger could be brought back into the fold against West Brom.

#4 Pardew to attack

Since replacing Tony Pulis in the Albion dugout, Alan Pardew has won just one of his 12 league games in charge of the bottom-placed club. His side suffered a demoralising 3-2 defeat at the hands of their relegation rivals Southampton at the weekend. As a result, there is extra pressure on Albion, who will most likely go out with a nothing to lose mentality and attack from the off at the Bridge.

#5 Conte’s reaction

The Italian remained a calm and emotionless figure during the Watford match despite his team levelling the scores when they were down to ten men. Conte’s post-match press conference had more spice and it could get even spicier if his team falls to a third successive league defeat. Regardless of the result on the night or how Chelsea perform, you wouldn’t bet against Conte showing any emotion on the touchline once again.