West Brom will look to continue their excellent early season form when they face a Chelsea side only four points ahead of the Baggies. The tie will also be given extra bite as both managers face their former employers.
Steve Clarke’s side have picked up three wins from their last five, building on a very positive start by the club, leaving the Midlands side in fifth position, level with the Champions League places. Their home form will provide a stark warning for Roberto Di Matteo’s side, having won all but one of their six home league matches thus far – against champions Man City.
Chelsea will feel they come into this clash in a period of relatively poorer form, with just two wins in six, one of those being after extra time against Man Utd in the Capital One cup. However due to their almost faultless start to the season, they remain well in contention for the Premier League title, but will need to bounce back from three games without a victory in the league.
The Baggies are without Ben Foster in goal, who has a groin injury – Boaz Myhill comes in. Striker Romelu Lukaku is ineligible to face his parent club Chelsea, and they will wait on the fitness of Gareth McAuley, who picked up a hamstring injury on international duty – Gabriel Tamas will be ready to replace him.
Chelsea are still without Frank Lampard, while John Terry joins him on the treatment table with a knee injury picked up against Liverpool. David Luiz returns from illness.
“We are where we are for a reason and because we deserve to be there. The games we’ve played, we’ve accumulated a good number of points. But it is a dangerous league if you look too far ahead.?”We have to keep our focus on what we are trying to do, which is picking up points from game to game.”
‘We’ve shown our character many times, when we play well we can win games. It will be very tough against West Brom at the Hawthorns; they have the second best home record in the league behind Manchester City, who they only lost to in added-time.
‘They have good organisation with two blocks of four, they sometimes play five in midfield and are dangerous in transition and on the break.”