Chelsea will be hoping to make it eight points from a possible 12 under interim boss Guss Hiddink as they take on West Bromwich Albion, who are three points above their opponents after two straight wins.
After going away to Manchester United and getting the clean sheet they wanted, Chelsea looked much more like their old selves in sweeping aside the challenge of London rivals Crystal Palace. They spent the majority of the first half hour of match forced back into their own half, but once Diego Costa unselfishly set up his new training ground foe Oscar to give them the lead, the result was never in doubt as they played with authority to eventually win at a canter.
It was arguably the best performance by Costa in what has been a poor season by his standards, as he showed impeccable hold-up play throughout and dominated a Palace defence which has shut their fair share of teams out of late. He will again need to be on his game here if he is to get any change out of the Baggies backline, a duel which they will relish as much as him. As for Pedro Rodriguez, who was very impressive when he made his debut in the reverse fixture in August, he badly needs to rediscover that form.
For the second time this term, West Brom were aided by a numerical advantage to see off Midlands rivals Stoke City, with one of the many late goalmouth scrambles eventually falling their way for a victory which pushes them closer to mid-table and some nine points above the bottom three. Claudio Yacob did not earn universal praise for his histrionics during the incident that led to Geoff Cameron’s sending off, but even so, over the 90 minutes his side probably did just about enough to win.
One player who has re-emerged is Stephane Sessegnon, who fell out of favour for a time but since regaining his regular place in the side has found a real consistency, and he thoroughly deserved his goal against Stoke. The move that led to it was attractive and incisive, not what is normally associated with a team managed by Tony Pulis, who admittedly is likely to return to slightly less adventurous tactics for this one as he aims to frustrate the Blues.
Costa will play for Chelsea after shaking off a bruised knee, but Eden Hazard and Radamel Falcao miss out through injury.
West Brom could give goalkeeper Ben Foster his first Premier League appearance since March, but defender Jonas Olsson and striker Victor Anichebe are doubtful.
Last Meeting: A very comfortable win for Chelsea saw them score two first half goals and the visitors end with 10 men as a seven-point lead was established at the top of the Premier League. The game was over after 30 minutes, with Diego Costa controlling and firing in before Eden Hazard took full advantage of West Brom falling asleep from a corner. Claudio Yacob was then sent off for a two-footed challenge on Costa.
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