Roberto Di Matteo returns to Stamford Bridge today and takes with him newly promoted West Bromwich Albion. Games don’t come much harder than this and the Baggies will be dreading being on the end of a hiding from the Champions. However, there is a glimmer of hope, it is Albion’s first game back in the Premier League and all of the players will be up for what is arguably their biggest game of the season and Chelsea haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders in pre season losing their last four games. Much will come down to whether West Brom can keep Chelsea’s attacking flair at bay and Albion’s much improved backline may stand a chance of doing it. If a clean sheet is kept then it is feasible that Ishmael Miller will deliver the goods against the pedestrian John Terry.
Di Matteo’s Signal of Intent
‘We want to get rid of this reputation for West Brom of being a yo-yo club. That’s our aim’ He added ‘It would be tough for any club to play Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United in your first four away games like we have to. So we are in for a tough start but the season is over 38 games and we have to remember that. We have to be positive and balanced when we win and lose, not get too excited when we win and not get too down when we lose’.
Chelsea Team News:
Lampard is struggling to be fit for the game but it look as though Cech and Drogba will make it. The game also sees the return of Michael Essien who has had a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Chelsea from: Cech, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Cole, Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda, Hilário, Turnbull, Ivanovic, Bruma, Mancienne, Zhirkov, Benayoun, Matic, Kakuta, Kalou, Borini, Sturridge
Player to watch: Anelka
Anelka will want to make up for his disappointing World Cup and he has always given the Baggies problems in the past.
West Brom Team News:
It looks like Graham Dorrans has won his fitness battle as has Pablo who will fight it out with Olsson to partner Tamas at the centre of the defence.
West Brom from: Carson, Jara, Tamas, Pablo, Shorey, Reid, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Brunt, Miller, Morrison, Myhill, Barnes, Olsson, Cech, Mattock, Zuiverloon, Cox, Bednar, Méïté, Wood, Thomas, Moore
Player to watch: Pablo
West Brom’s new signing Pablo has the pedigree to be a great defender in the Premier League. If he is on his game then a clean sheet could follow.
Match Facts & Stats
? Chelsea have not lost their first game in a top-flight season since Coventry won 2-1 at Highfield Road in 1998
? West Brom have not won at Chelsea in a league match since September 1978
? Albion wins 40, Chelsea wins 50, draws, 32
Sunderland at home on 21 August