By Mike Ikenwa
- Hazard: 25′, Moses: 63, Hazard: 70 |
- Possessions: 57% | 43%
- Targets: 12-off/8-on | 7-off/1-on
- Premier League | Stamford Bridge
- Corners: 8 | 7
- Fouls 11 | 11
- Off sides 1 | 3
- More on Bloomgist.com/tag/sports
The lights went out momentarily at the Bridge but the teams are on and ready to rumble now. Kick-off is imminent.
Both teams are back in the dressing rooms, the motions well and truly gone through which means kick-off is edging that bit closer. The sprinklers are on at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will be hoping for a return to that slick attacking game that carved open teams last season.
Antonio Conte speaks. “The last couple of weeks, without Morata who was injured, we played without a No9,” he says. “It is not his favourite position but I was forced to take this decision,” he adds of Giroud. The key to turning things around? “To try to continue to work, and stick together.”
Alan Pardew speaks. “We are obviously under pressure because we are bottom of the league,” he says. “I know Chelsea very well. I have watched them from afar. They have difficult periods but they do come through them and I have great respect for the manager and I think he will come through it – no problem.”
Thierry Henry’s analysis
It’s not on Chelsea, but on Liverpool’s win over Southampton in which Bobby Firmino was particularly good. It’s a lovely bit of TV. When describing the brilliant disguised reverse pass for Salah’s goal, Henry says:
“…and what does he do? He waits for the ball to go to his furthest… leg”.
Something about that sentence has entertained me.
If West Brom lose this tonight, are they down? Of course, it may already look that way but another defeat leaves them with the need for helluva turnaround. They have won just three of their 26 league games. They need to win probably six – maybe – of their next 12. Stranger things have happened.
Headline team news: Conte hands striker Olivier Giroud his first start since arriving from Arsenal on deadline day, as one of four changes from that 4-1 battering by Watford. Fabregas is back in the midfield, while Christensen is fit enough to partner Antonio Rudiger. “The coach told me that I am in and he explained what he expected from me,” Giroud muttered a few minutes ago. “We worked a lot tactically in training so I am ready and finished with the hamstring injury. I’m fresh and really want to play.”
Here’s an intriguing narrative for you. Andre Villas-Boas lost 1-0 to West Brom and was sacked as Chelsea manager and his successor, Roberto Di Matteo, lost 2-1 to West Brom (and then Juventus) and was sacked as Chelsea manager. Clearly, West Brom are cursed.
Chelsea will be without suspended midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko for Monday’s Premier League meeting with West Brom.
The France international serves a one-game ban following his dismissal at Watford.
Striker Olivier Giroud could make his first start since moving from Arsenal, but centre-back Andreas Christensen (hamstring) faces a late fitness test and forward Alvaro Morata (back) remains sidelined.
Antonio Conte says he doesn’t know when Chelsea striker Alvara Morata will return from a back injury.
Jay Rodriguez is available for selection for West Brom’s trip to Chelsea on Monday despite being charged by the Football Association following his clash with Gaetan Bong.
The striker will still be picked by boss Alan Pardew despite being charged with alleged racial abuse of the Brighton defender, something the England international denies.
Jonny Evans (back), Kieran Gibbs (hamstring), Grzegorz Krychowiak (leg) are available but Jake Livermore (hamstring) James Morrison (Achilles) and Nacer Chadli (hip) are out.
Alan Pardew says his West Brom need to start putting points on the board, starting with the visit to Chelsea on Monday.
It’s really going to be a night that will decide the fate and future of manager Anthonio Conte at the bridge
- Chelsea have won all three Premier League meetings against West Brom under Antonio Conte without conceding a single goal.
- West Brom haven’t beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in any of their last 16 visits in all competitions (D3 L13), since winning 1-0 in the League Cup in November 1983 under Ron Wylie.
- The Blues have lost consecutive league games by a margin of three or more goals for the first time since October 1995 (1-4 vs Man Utd, 0-3 vs Blackburn) – they’ve never previously lost three in a row by such a margin in the top-flight.
- West Bromwich Albion have lost more points from leading positions than any other Premier League side this season (18).
- Antonio Conte hasn’t lost three consecutive league games as manager since November 2009, when he was with Atalanta in Serie A.
Chelsea need to win, they just need to win. That’s what it has come to now. You looked at the Bournemouth and Watford games and thought there are six points to cement the top four and concentrate on Barcelona in the Champions League.
Now you’ve got fixtures of Barca, Man Utd, Man City, Barca after West Brom – it could all go Pete Tong very quickly. If they don’t win, you don’t see how they’re going to finish in the top four with the games coming up.
Alan Pardew is going to put 10 behind the ball, and keep it very tight for 20 minutes and hope the fans get restless. They’ll look at what Bournemouth did, but without the same pace on the counter-attack I don’t see how they can hurt Chelsea.
CHELSEA will be aiming to avoid a third Premier League loss in a row when welcoming West Brom to Stamford Bridge for Monday Night Football.
Antonio Conte’s Blues have slipped to defeats by Bournemouth and Watford, conceding seven in their last two games and are in danger of dropping out of the top four.
The visit of a club four points adrift at the foot would normally cheer the champions, though West Bromwich Albion pose a particular threat to those in charge at Chelsea. They are not the team to confront when the head coach’s job is on the line, as André Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo might attest. Antonio Conte has seen his side beaten by three goal margins in their last two fixtures, with a top four finish under threat. Alan Pardew’s visitors have a more appealing run of games after Monday, but their own comeback must start somewhere. Why not Stamford Bridge? Dominic Fifield
Monday 8pm Sky Sports Premier League
Venue Stamford Bridge
Last season Chelsea 1 West Brom 0
Referee Lee Mason
This season G12 Y26 R2 2.33 cards/game
Odds H 2-5 A 10-1 D 22-5
Subs from Caballero, Eduardo, David Luiz, Zappacosta, Cahill, Pedro,
Sterling, Willian, Ampadu, Emerson, Hudson-Odoi
Doubtful David Luiz (ankle), Alonso (hamstring), Pedro (dead leg), Christensen (hamstring)
Injured Morata (back, 3 Mar), Barkley (hamstring, 3 Mar)
Suspended Bakayoko (one match)
Discipline Y30 R4
Leading scorer Morata 10
Subs from Myhill, Field, Robson-Kanu, Burke, Nyom, Rondón, Gabir, Livermore, Krychowiak
Doubtful Gibbs (hamstring), Krychowiak (thigh), Livermore (hamstring)
Injured Evans (back, 17 Feb), Chadli (thigh), Morrison (achilles, both 24 Feb)
Discipline Y52 R1
Leading scorers Rodriguez, Rondón 4
Categories: Live update