It would be fair to say that expectations for both of these outfits were completely contrasting at the start of the season, with Chelsea regarded as title contenders while West Brom were tipped as a side who could struggle. As it turns out, both teams will be delighted with their performances so far, with the Blues leading the division by four points while West Brom are sat comfortably in 13th spot.
While Chelsea’s lead at the top might be four points, some would suggest that it equates to much more. They lead Southampton by said margin, but it could be said that Manchester City are the next “serious” contenders and they sit eight points away in 3rd. As such, it’s been a marvellous start to the campaign for Jose Mourinho’s side and based on current form, it doesn’t look like slowing anytime soon. Prior to the international break they had a potential banana skin fixture against Liverpool, but came through with flying colours after coming from behind to notch a 2-1 win. It means that they are yet to lose in the top flight this term, while they also boast a 100% record in the league at Stamford Bridge.
West Brom on the other hand are faring much better than most people expected. The Baggies were tipped to struggle because of their bizarre managerial appointment at the start of the campaign, with Alan Irvine having very little success at other clubs prior to his arrival. So far, the move seems to be something of a masterstroke though and the Hawthorns outfit sit comfortably above the bottom three in 13th spot. They’ve lost just one of their last four games and having won two of their last three on the road in the top flight, it wouldn’t be fair to write them off for this clash just yet.
Chelsea have been handed a huge boost this week with the news that Diego Costa is free from all of his injury woes and will play in some capacity. It gets better in other areas as well, with Andre Schurrle and Cesc Fabregas both expected to play despite early scares. It’s not quite as positive for West Brom on the other hand, with the Baggies without both Jonas Olsson and Sebastien Pocognoli who are suffering with respective Achilles and hamstring injuries. However, Craig Gardner should play, after completing a suspension.
West Brom approach this clash with some decent away form behind them, but they are set to face a team who look by far and away the best in the division. Few people believe Chelsea will be halted in their pursuit of glory this term and for this reason, we’ll predict a 2-0 victory for the Blues.