On May 18th, champions Chelsea travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion. With the season coming to a close, not a whole lot is at stake in this one. West Brom have already clinched safety and Chelsea have already clinched the title. Both teams of course will want to finish with as many points as possible. West Brom will look to finish as high up the table as possible for maximum prize money. Chelsea will look to claim as many points as possible, but really this game doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. Still, those games that don’t mean a whole lot can be some of the most entertaining and can provide some incredible moments.
Neither team have too many injuries to deal with here, but they do have some injuries to key players. The Baggies’ only injury is to their number one goalkeeper, Ben Foster. The English international will be out until October after his ACL injury. Chelsea will be without Ramires, Kurt Zouma, Petr Cech, and Oscar for this game and the rest of the season. Diego Costa will have a late fitness test to determine whether he can play or not. Jose Mourinho has hinted that he will play some young players, and it is expected that West Brom youth product Izzy Brown will make his Chelsea debut against his former club.
- The away team is winless in this fixture in the last seven meetings between the two clubs.
- In the last six meetings between the two, West Brom are undefeated in the four games that they scored in.
- Prior to the Baggies’ win in 2012, Chelsea had beaten the baggies in 13 consecutive meetings.
- Going back to 1993, Chelsea have won 15 of the last 19 meetings.
West Bromwich Albion: Chris Brunt
One of the trademarks of a Tony Pulis team is scoring from set pieces. More than half of the baggies goals have been from set pieces this year. Chris Brunt and his wand of a left foot plays a big part in that as well as their overall success. Brunt’s nine assists put him fourth in the Premier League behind only Cesc Fabregas, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Angel Di Maria. The Northern Irishman has created more chances than any other player in the side with 39 chances created. Chelsea are probably the best defensive team in the league. If the Baggies are to get something from this, they’ll have to take advantage of their set pieces and Brunt will need to put in some very good deliveries.
Chelsea: Eden Hazard
What more can you say about the PFA Player of the Year. Eden Hazard is a treat of a footballer who will glide past you and cut your team open in the blink of an eye. For as organised as Tony Pulis’ sides are, the little Belgian can unlock any defence with his magic. His control of the ball and his eye for a pass are too much for most defences, and he can make the difference in any game he plays in. He’s done it time and time again this season, and he may do it again today.
Not sure this will be the most entertaining game. Neither team will have any pressure on them, but I’m not sure they’ll produce the most free flowing game. I think Chelsea will nick it because that’s what champions do.
Prediction: 1-0 Chelsea