Premier League football returns to our weekend after what feels like an eternity. An eternity that was filled with the high of beating Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and this week the Blues look to continue their momentum with a trip to the Hawthorns to face West Brom. Tony Pulis’s side have not won since August but we all know how hard they are to beat. It will be a tough game for Antonio Conte’s men but one that they should be winning.

Team News

Chelsea skipper Gary Cahill should be available for selection after missing out on England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil but David Luiz looks set to miss out again because of his shaky relationship with Conte. Victor Moses is a doubt having not yet fully recovered from his recent hamstring problem so Davide Zappacosta is expected to continue at right wing-back.

As for the Baggies, they could field eight defensive-minded players with Pulis deliberating whether to continue with his back five after a poor run of form. Salomon Rondon is expected to start up front as West Brom look for an outlet when they have the ball. Jake Livermore, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Gareth Barry are expected to start in midfield, providing so much protection for their defence.

Chelsea’s record at the Hawthorns

It’s not exactly been a happy hunting ground for the Blues in recent history but they’ve fared slightly better in the Black Country in the last couple of seasons. Michy Batshuayi’s late winner against West Brom last season sealed the Premier League title for Chelsea and prompted wild celebrations by the away fans and in the dressing room afterwards.

Before that, the Hawthorns has been a final destination for more than one Chelsea manager. Both Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo were sacked within a week of losing away to West Brom but surely this time, even if Conte were to lose, he wouldn’t lose his job. A 3-0 defeat at the Hawthorns back in 2015, after Chelsea had clinched another league title, saw Cesc Fabregas sent off for kicking a ball into Chris Brunt’s face when the game had been stopped. The Spaniard will be wanting to hit the back of the net on his latest visit to the Albion.

Key Battles

With the Baggies likely to be sitting on the edge of their own penalty area, it will be crucial for the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard to wriggle free of the defensive midfielders and find some space in order to work in. Former PSG man Krychowiak is no stranger to playing against top quality opposition, having spent a large part of his years in La Liga and Champions League football.

If he’s preferred to David Luiz once again, Andreas Christensen will need to keep an eye on Salomon Rondon or Hal Robson-Kanu. Their physical presence will be similar to what he faced against Romelu Lukaku and if he plays like he did against United, the Dane should have no problem with the Albion strikers.

Chelsea cannot afford to drop more points in their quest to defend their Premier League title as the Manchester City juggernaut rolls on. They have the chance to move up into 2nd place if Manchester United and Spurs slip up against Newcastle and Arsenal respectively. The game might not have the entertainment factor, but it will have a competitive edge you’re unlikely to see across the continent this weekend.