West Brom face Chelsea at the Hawthorns.
It’ll be a case of friends reunited at the Hawthorns, as Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo returns, as European Champion, to the club that sacked him, while Steve Clarke faces the club he used to coach for.
Chelsea surprisingly lost this corresponding fixture last season but both teams have improved considerably since then and it promises to be a hotly contested fixture in the Midlands, as the Baggies seek a European place that was unthought of at the start of the season.
Venue The Hawthorns, Saturday 3pm
Last season West Brom 1 Chelsea 0
Referee Michael Oliver
This season’s matches 6 Y13, R1, 2.33 cards per game
Odds West Brom 3-1 Chelsea 9-10 Draw 11-4
fanatix predicted line-ups:
Subs from L Daniels, Reid, Popov, Jara, Rosenberg, El Ghanassy, Dorrans, Gera, Dawson, Tamas, Fortuné, Thorne, Hurst
Doubtful McAuley (hamstring), Morrison (knock), Mulumbu (hamstring), Reid (hamstring)
Injured Foster (groin, 24 Nov)
Ineligible Lukaku (terms of loan)
Form guide WWLLWD
Disciplinary record Y19 R1
Leading scorers Long, Lukaku, Morrison, Odemwingie 3
Subs from Hilário, Turnbull, Romeu, Oscar, Moses, Malouda, Ferreira, Marin, Sturridge, Azpilicueta, Piazón
Doubtful Cole (hamstring), David Luiz (fatigue), Mata (fatigue), Oscar (fatigue)
Injured Lampard (calf, 25 Nov), Terry (knee, 8 Dec)
Form guide DDLWWW
Disciplinary record Y16 R2
Leading scorers Mata, Torres 4
West Brom beat Chelsea 1-0 at The Hawthorns last March to end a 17-league match winless run against them. It was Andre Villas-Boas’s last game in charge of the Blues before being sacked.
The two clubs met on this date in the top flight in 1984, with Chelsea prevailing 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
The Baggies have taken 15 points from a possible 18 at home this season, only dropping points in defeat by champions Manchester City.
Their tally of 20 points is the most the club have had at this stage of a top-flight season for 30 years.
West Brom have kept clean sheets in four of their six league wins this term.
The Baggies recorded back-to-back wins under Clarke for the first time last weekend. The last time they won three successive games was between February-March, when Chelsea were the third victims of that sequence.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke spent 11 years as a player with Chelsea between 1987-98, making 421 appearances. He also spent four years coaching the Blues’ first-team.
Chelsea have gone three league matches without a win – their worst sequence under Roberto Di Matteo. They had previously taken 22 points from the opening eight games.
The Blues have conceded at least once in each of their last six league games.
The west London club have won seven of their opening 11 Premier League matches – the same number of victories they had at the same stage last season under Andre Villas-Boas.
Chelsea’s only league win outside London this campaign was at Wigan in their season opener.
Roberto Di Matteo spent 19 months in charge of West Brom between 2009 and 2011, leading the club back to the Premier League in 2010.
fanatix prediction: 1-1. Baggies to pick up a valuable point.
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