The return of Premier League football will be welcomed by the majority of people, even if a lot of the players will have become more fatigued over the international break. Chelsea are set for an entertaining end to the season, as they compete on three fronts. This weekends match against West Bromwich Albion looks to be a welcome one, as they will be able to rest some of their international stars. Thomas Tuchel will have one eye on the Champions League quarter final against Porto coming up in the week.
It has been an excellent few weeks for Chelsea under their new German coach. They remain unbeaten and their defence has quickly emerged as the most reliable in the division. They have conceded just twice under Tuchel and their last goal conceded came in February. It has been a very quick turnaround from last season, where they had a very poor defensive record under Frank Lampard. Their were signs of improvement in the early parts of the campaign under their former manager, but the appointment of Tuchel has taken it to a new level. It would be a surprise to see them concede against West Brom.
West Brom were always going to face problems following their promotion to the top flight. It can be argued that it was one of the worst years to get promoted, as the pandemic will have prevented big investment into the playing squad. That said, they will hold a big financial advantage over their Championship rivals thanks to the television money they will have received this season. In hindsight, there may be some regret that they sacked Slaven Bilic, as the appointment of Sam Allardyce has done little to change the fortunes of the team. A summer rebuild will be needed, unless they can perform a miracle and stay up this season.
Chelsea have drawn 0-0 three times under Thomas Tuchel. This is more than they did in 57 matches under Frank Lampard.
West Brom have a poor record in London, having won just once in their last 20 Premier League matches in the capital.
The last few months have shown the redemption of Marcos Alonso. He wasn’t highly rated by Frank Lampard and it was Ben Chilwell that had secured the left back position. However, the change to a back three has once again given an opportunity to Alonso and he has grabbed it with both hands. Despite his favour with Thomas Tuchel, it is still likely that he won’t be trusted in the big matches, due to his defensive lapses. In matches like the one this weekend, he is the perfect weapon, as he gets forward and offers a direct goal threat from wing back. West Brom are likely to sit in a deep block and it is important that Chelsea attack with numbers and width. Alonso could be key to that.
There have been few players to emerge with credit from the disappointing season for West Brom. He was one of the key players in their promotion and he has shown that he has quality to impact matches in the top flight. The attacker has contributed five goals and three assists in a poor attacking team. Some doubted whether he would be the type of player to suit Sam Allardyce, but he has become a key player under the seasoned manager. During the second half of the season, he has struck up a good relationship with Mbaye Diagne, but their good play hasn’t produce the goals it has deserved. There may be some concerns about his consistency, but at the age of 24, he has had a promising first season in the Premier League. He may have done enough to attract some interest should West Brom go down as expected.
Edouard Mendy didn’t go on international duty, due to a planned dental procedure, but he should be back for this weekend. N’Golo Kante, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho and Thiago Silva are all doubts. They may not be risked in this fixture ahead of the Champions League meeting with Porto.
Conor Gallagher won’t be able to face Chelsea, as he is currently on loan from the Blues. He will be the only absentee for the visitors.
It is difficult to see a struggling attack like West Brom’s score against Chelsea, taking into account the Blues’ record under Thomas Tuchel. They have become nearly impossible to break down and even if they do make changes, they should have the quality to get the three points on Saturday. Although they may have one eye on the Champions League, they need to secure their league position and they can’t afford to drop points against a team currently in the relegation zone.
Chelsea 2-0 West Brom