West Bromwich have virtually ensured survival thanks to the great run of results during the last few weeks, but the Baggies are determined to prove their credentials against one of the best sides in the Premiership. Chelsea have just been eliminated from the Champions League and they can now fully focus on the league campaign.
Baggies unbeaten under Hodgson
Roy Hodgson may not any success at Liverpool, but his reign at West Brom, as well as the impressive stint at Fulham, is the perfect proof of his managerial qualities. Even though West Brom played pretty well under Roberto Di Mateo, it was only after the former Fulham boss took over that the Baggies managed to improve their results and escape the dangerous zone. After picking up 10 points from last 4 games, West Brom have climbed to the top part of the table with the players full on confidence before the visit of Chelsea. The Baggies have continued to play attacking football under Roy Hodgson, having scored and conceded at least once in every one of their last seven games, and considering the poor state their next opponents are in, the trend looks likely to continue. Roy Hodgson’s men clearly have enough attacking potential to hurt Chelsea, although their back line will be under pressure in this match.
Influential midfielder Graham Dorrans remains a doubt with an ankle problem, while Pablo Ibanez is out. Peter Odemwingie should be fit to play.
Chelsea continue to struggle
Chelsea’s current season is going from bad to worse as the Blues have now been eliminated from all Cup competitions and only have Premier League to worry about. It is now more than clear that Carlo Ancelotti’s side will finish the season trophy-less, but they have got to show some improvement if they want to finish in top 3. The Blues clearly have problems in all areas of the team and everyone can see the squad is in desperate need of major rebuilding, but that process will have to wait until after the season ends. The only thing Ancelotti can now do is rally his troops and try to win at Hawthorns, which is easier said than done considering the Baggies’ recent form. Chelsea will have to open up if they want to win this game, which is going to leave a lot of space for the hosts to exploit, so we are likely to see a very open game at Hawthorns.
Fernando Torres is likely to be relegated to the bench following yet another dismal performance, while Yuri Zhirkov and Salomon Kalou could start if Ancelotti decides to freshen things up.
West Brom have been scoring goals for fun throughout the season and their impressive run is unlikely to end against struggling Chelsea. The Blues, on the other hand, have got to go all in if they mean to bring all three points from Hawthorns, meaning that both teams to score is a logical choice.
Our prediction: Both teams to score
Odds: 1.80 (4/5)
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler