Chelsea will need to bounce back from their first defeat of the season as they travel to face West Brom. The early indications are that the hosts are struggling to adapt to Premier League football with eight goals conceded in their first two matches. The Blues are still trying to gel as a squad following a big spending spree, but this fixture looks to be a good one to get them going. They did struggle against bottom half teams at times during Frank Lampard’s first season. If they are serious in closing the gap to those above, they need to win matches like this.
West Brom have been their own worst enemy since their return to the top flight. In their opening fixture, they conceded two penalties to Leicester City and last weekend Kieran Gibbs got sent off after a strong start by the team. Slaven Bilic will be making sure that the players don’t make many more of these errors, as they don’t currently have the quality to bounce back from them. Chelsea are a team that are still developing. Despite the talent difference, this is probably a good time to play the Blues. Few will expect the Baggies to get anything from the game and that means they can approach it with nothing to lose.
Last weekend, the Blues were hampered by a first-half red card to Andreas Christensen. Although Liverpool are seen as the better team, they had managed to keep the game deadlocked until the dismissal. There were encouraging signs in the movement of Timo Werner, who has managed to win two penalties in his first two Premier League matches. Lampard will be hoping that his team can deliver a free flowing display and his new attacking signings can open their Premier League accounts. The midweek hat-trick of Kai Havertz could have been a sign of what is to come this weekend.
West Brom conceded five goals in the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last match in charge of Manchester United in 2013.
Last weekend, Chelsea missed a penalty and received a red card in the same match for the first time since 1999.
The former Sporting Lisbon midfielder will be crucial for West Brom this season and he has already shown what he is capable of. Last weekend, he contributed a goal and an assist, with his strike coming from an excellently struck free-kick. He was vital in the promotion and his permanent signing was seen as the best piece of business that the club have done in recent times. Last season, he contributed eight goals and 16 assists, which is a remarkable return for any player, especially one adapting to English football. He looks to be made for the Premier League and his performance against Everton shows that he won’t have any difficulties adapting to the new level. Chelsea are still vulnerable at the back. Pereira possesses the quality to cause them real problems.
Although Timo Werner has yet to find the back of the net, he had looked very good during his first two Premier League matches. His movement has caused problems for defences, as shown by his ability to win a penalty in each of the two matches. During his time with RB Leipzig, he was a prolific goalscorer and that should continue with Chelsea. This weekend provides the perfect opportunity for the German to get among the goals. During his final Bundesliga season, he managed to score 28 goals at a rate of one every 100.3 minutes. It will be difficult to replicate that scoring rate in his first year at Chelsea, but it shows what he is capable of. West Brom have conceded eight goals already this season. This fixture looks perfect for Werner to get off the mark.
Kieran Gibbs will be suspended for the visit of Chelsea, while Conor Gallagher will be unable to feature against his parent club. Ahmed Hegazi, Hal Robson-Kanu and Kamil Grosicki are all doubts for the weekend with various knocks.
Andreas Christensen is in line for a return after serving his suspension during the week. Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech are nearing a return, but they are unlikely to be risked this weekend. Edouard Mendy could be in line for his debut after completing his permanent move to the club.
It is still too early to have firm conclusions on the levels that teams are capable of reaching. However, the early indications are that West Brom will struggle and this is a tricky fixture for them. Despite Chelsea’s loss last weekend, there is still confidence around the club that they are set for a very good season. They should have enough quality to run out convincing winners and keep a clean sheet for the first time in the 2020/21 campaign.
West Brom 0-2 Chelsea