Preview: West Brom v Chelsea

Alvaro Morata Chelsea

Chelsea will be expecting three points against an out-of-sorts West Bromwich Albion in Saturday’s Premier League clash at the Hawthorns.

Premier League
17 November 2017
Kick-off 17:00 local time
Venue: The Hawthorns

Referee: J. Moss
Assistants: S. Bennett, A. Halliday
Fourth official: G. Eltringham

Head-to-head summary

West Brom 106 33 26 47
Chelsea 106 47 26 33

Previous encounter

West Brom 1-1 Chelsea 12/05/2017 (Premier League)

Chelsea goalscorer: M. Batshuayi (82′)

Players to watch

There seems to have been a falling out between Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and defender David Luiz, who was left out of the team to face Manchester United. As rumours swirl that the Brazilian is set to be offloaded in January, the match at the Hawthorns could be an important one for the charismatic centre-back, whether he’s on the pitch or on the bench.

The few goals the Baggies have scored this season have been spread around the team with only Jay Rodriguez netting more than one goal. They will look to their set-pieces for a breakthrough while the form of goalkeeper Ben Foster will surely be crucial for the Baggies in this one.

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Team form and quotes

Tony Pulis’ side are just one point above the relegation zone having failed to win since matchday two, making it nine in a row without a victory, including three defeats on the trot prior to the international break.

The Blues, meanwhile, sit third in the standings with just one point less than Manchester United and Tottenham, who are second and third respectively.

They have won their last three in the row since back-to-back defeats, and beat the Baggies 1-0 home and away last season.

“Chelsea at home – the current Champions – is obviously a tough game,” said Albion midfielder Gareth Barry, who hopes the match could be a turning point.

“You need that one little moment in a season that can turn things. What better game to do it than against them at home.

“We need one moment, a slice of luck that goes your way. It’s easy to say that, but if you work hard you can get those little breaks. The quicker that happens the better.”

But head coach Tony Pulis is already fearing the chop and knows he needs a big performance from his side.

He said: “If the club decide what they decide, I’ve got great respect for the football club, the supporters, the chairman, the board – it’s just life.

“If you don’t get results, you’re under pressure. I understand, the more you give, the more people want. We brought in a lot of good players, players we hoped would gel straight away, and we’ve been unfortunate.

“Like every team, if you don’t have your best players, especially at the top end of the pitch, you’re going to struggle.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said ahead of the game that he was expecting a tough match – after reflecting on his side’s victory over the Baggies last season, as they stormed to the Premier League title.

He said: “It was a fantastic moment for me, the players, the club and the fans. It was great. I remember this moment very well and I am proud for what we did last season.

“Now we have to look at the present. This will be a really tough game. Last season, both games were very difficult for us, at home and away. We want to continue winning in the league, but we know it will be a very difficult for us.”

Team news

In team news, Albion boss Pulis revealed that Nacer Chadli “picked up an injury in training” and will “be out for the foreseeable future”. He joins Craig Dawson and James Morrison on the sidelines.

For Chelsea, there are slight doubts on the match fitness of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Eden Hazard, and David Luiz while Victor Moses, Michy Batshuayi (ankle) and Charly Musonda (knee) have been ruled out.