Chelsea vs. West Brom: Tactical Preview

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While searching for the first victory of the new Premier League season, Reigning titleholders Chelsea face West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Sunday evening.

Although the match is not a must-win for Chelsea, Jose Mourinho’s men badly need three points to stay within touching distance of the top of the table.

A season-opening draw against Swansea City at home before falling to a crushing 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last Sunday have left Chelsea with only one point in two games.

The situation is far from ideal for the Blues, but with two new signings ready to make an impact, the Portuguese will hope for a sharp turnaround in performance from his team this weekend.

Like their counterparts, West Brom have also secured just one point from their opening two league games.

The Baggies’ boss Tony Pulis boasts a golden opportunity to create history by winning third against Mourinho when his side welcome the Champions at The Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon. No manager has ever won three times against the Portuguese in their career.

West Brom vs. Chelsea

West Brom tried to be too adventuresome against Manchester City in their opening encounter, a strategy that backfired and resulted in a comfortable victory for the Citizens. 

Now within less than two weeks from the fiasco, Pulis meets another opportunity to redraw his strategy and have it against a team of similar posture.

The West Midlands club concluded the last season with a victory over newly crowned champions and could have a last laugh at the same position provided they apply a similar gameplan this time around as well.

It will be unfair to say that Chelsea are in a ‘crisis’ after failing to win their opening two league games, but losing so emphatically to Manchester City resulted in Jose Mourinho making necessary incursions into the transfer market.

After completing the transfer of Abdul Rehman Baba from Augsburg and Pedro from Barcelona, Chelsea cannot afford another lacklustre display on a weekend that could potentially see them eight points adrift main title rivals.

Team News

West Brom:

  • Saido Berahino is set to start against Chelsea despite the on-going speculation over his West Brom future.
  • The Baggies rejected a bid from Tottenham for the striker this week, but Tony Pulis is confident he is in the right frame of mind.
  • Federico Fazio is close to joining from Tottenham but needs to be registered in time.
  • Serge Gnabry could make his debut following his arrival from Arsenal this summer.
  • Salomon Rondon made his debut from the bench last time out and will be pushing for a start on Sunday.
  • Ben Foster remains the only player in the treatment room for the Baggies.

Chelsea:

  • Pedro and Baba Rahman could make their Chelsea debuts on Sunday at West Brom after signing for the Premier League champions this week.

  • Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will return from a one-match ban in place of Asmir Begovic, while captain John Terry is likely to start in defence despite being substituted at half-time in last week’s loss at Manchester City.

  • Victor Moses and Oscar are out with undisclosed injuries.

Probable Lineups:

Chelsea:

Courtois, Begovic, Ivanovic, Rahman, Fabregas, Zouma, Ramires, Falcao, Hazard, Cuadrado, Mikel, Traore, Pedro, Remy, Costa, Matic, Willian, Cahill, Terry, Blackman, Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek.

West Brom:

Provisional squad: Myhill, Rose, Gamboa, Brunt, Chester, Dawson, Yacob, Olsson, McAuley, Lescott, Fletcher, McManaman, Gnabry, McClean, Gardner, Morrison, Sessegnon, Berahino, Anichebe, Rondon, Ideye, Lambert.

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