Chelsea and Antonio Conte will look to put the damning defeats to Bournemouth and Watford behind them with a win against West Brom on Monday night. The Blues have had three days off this week in order to freshen up so expect a reinvigorated Chelsea side against Alan Pardew’s Albion who sit bottom of the Premier League table.
Alvaro Morata remains sidelined with a back injury and Antonio Conte doesn’t know how much longer his first-choice striker will be out.
Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso are expected to return to the team after missing the Watford defeat through injury. Tiemoue Bakayoko will miss the game through suspension after being sent off at Vicarage Road.
Nacer Chadli and James Morrison will miss out with injuries for the visitors but the Baggies could have Grzegorz Krychowiak and Kieran Gibbs back.
Jonny Evans, Hal Robson-Kanu and Jake Livermore are all doubts for the away side.
Probable Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Giroud, Hazard.
Probable West Brom XI (4-5-1): Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Hegazi, Nyom; Phillips, Krychowiak, Yacob, Barry, Brunt; Rondon.
West Brom are likely to set up with target man, Salomon Rondon, who will battle with Andreas Christensen and look to hold up the ball. Christensen has to make sure Rondon doesn’t dominate and challenge his physical style of play.
N’Golo Kante will have much more defensive responsibility with the absence of Tiemoue Bakayoko in the team so don’t expect to see him bombing forward to help with attacks. Cesc Fabregas will have to compete with at least two defensive midfielders so, if he can find space, Chelsea could be in business.
Eden Hazard will look to feed off Olivier Giroud and you could see someone like Claudio Yacob tasked with keeping an eye on Chelsea’s key man, which in Claudio Yacob’s terms means… foul him. Don’t be surprised if Albion end up with less than 11 players on the field come the full-time whistle.
Chelsea’s Record vs West Brom
You’ll have to go back to 1978 to find the last time West Brom won at Stamford Bridge in the league when a goal from the late Cyrille Regis helped the Baggies triumph 3-1 in the old Division One.The Blues have won each of their last three meetings between the sides without conceding a single goal. They won the reverse fixture earlier this season by four goals to nil with Alvaro Morata, Marcos Alonso and Eden Hazard twice getting the goals.
Antonio Conte’s job has come under pressure after the recent results against Bournemouth and Watford and this game has become like a kiss of death for departing managers in the past. Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo both lost their jobs after defeats against West Brom so could the curse continue for Conte?
The fight for the title has become the struggle for the Top Four and that struggle continues on Monday night at Stamford Bridge and a defeat to West Brom could spell the end for Antonio Conte so a lot is at stake for this match-up.