Chelsea’s Premier League clash against West Brom will certainly prove to be a test as they are monitoring the fitness of two of their star men battling to recover from injury.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa is doubtful to face West Brom on Wednesday, while Eden Hazard could also be absent for the next two weeks. Costa netted in Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Scunthorpe United on Sunday before limping off in the final minutes.
West Bromwich Albion is twelfth in the league with 26 points having won 7 games, drawn 5 and lost 8. They are one point below Everton. With so many of Chelsea’s main men injured, Tony Pulis and his team will be looking to win this one.
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has confirmed Eden Hazard will miss their Premier League game against West Brom on Wednesday. The Belgium international injured his groin in the 16th minute of the 3-0 win at Crystal Palace on January 3 and is not ready for a return to action.
Costa is also another big question mark, and being without a couple of top stars will obviously put them at a disadvantage, and Costa and Hazard will definitely be missed against the Baggies. Serbia midfielder Nemanja Matic didn’t start the third-round tie after a training ground injury at Cobham ahead of the visit of Scunthorpe.
West Bromwich Albion
Ben Foster is slated to return on Wednesday. However, if Boaz Myhill, who has deputised for the last 10 months, is dropped for West Brom’s next Premier League game, away to Chelsea, it will be a huge injustice. Myhill has played 30 games while Foster has been getting himself fit after suffering cruciate knee damage and boss Tony Pulis now has a big call to make. Foster made two good saves in this comeback game but admits he has not yet re-tuned to life as a No1.
Chelsea have only kept three clean sheets this season, which is very surprising given they are known for their organisation and ability to win tight matches.
West Brom have only lost once in their last five meetings against Chelsea. It’s a fixture they have done well in over the last few seasons and that will provide them with hope for this weekend. 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.
League Head To Head
23/08/2015 Premier League 2015/2016 West Bromwich Albion 2 – 3 Chelsea
18/05/2015 Premier League 2014/2015 West Bromwich Albion 3 – 0 Chelsea
22/11/2014 Premier League 2014/2015 Chelsea 2 – 0 West Bromwich Albion
11/02/2014 Premier League 2013/2014 West Bromwich Albion 1 – 1 Chelsea
09/11/2013 Premier League 2013/2014 Chelsea 2 – 2 West Bromwich Albion
02/03/2013 Premier League 2012/2013 Chelsea 1 – 0 West Bromwich Albion
Azpilicueta has always been one of Chelsea’s underrated players and he has been instrumental in setting up a strong defence in most of Chelsea’s games, particularly in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. Chelsea’s defence was struggling in the last few games prior to Hiddink’s appointment, but the situation seems to be improving and honestly, its about time it does! Both teams would be looking to attack as it is a win that both need, and so, Azpilicueta will be crucial in this game.
WEST BROM: Craig Dawson
Craig Dawson has been ever-present this season, marshalling a defence that’s kept eight clean sheets in all competitions for the Baggies. A league trip to Chelsea will be tougher, but West Brom are actually more solid on the road, with the eight away goals they’ve conceded the second-best record in the league.
With Chelsea big names such as Hazard and Costa most likely to miss out on this game, West Brom can capitalize on that very fact and strengthen the defence to such an extent that Chelsea strikers struggle to score.
Chelsea seems likely to win 1-0, even though their top strikers are injured. With Guus Hiddink on board, it looks like it is finally time for Chelsea’s redemption. However, if West Brom manages to win against all odds, then it will be another upset for Chelsea.