Chelsea will hope to regain top spot in the Premier League as they take on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.
The European champions arrive in the Midlands having not won in their last three games, a run that has seen them drop from first to third in the league.
Roberto Di Matteo’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool last time out with Luis Suarez grabbing a second half equaliser after the Blues missed a host of chances to put the game to bed, so the Italian boss will be looking to get back on track this weekend.
However, they will face a tough task with former Chelsea-man Steve Clarke now in charge at WBA and is making the Hawthorns something of a fortress these days.
The Baggies have dropped just three points at home all season, which was a defeat to Manchester City, and have won five games already in front of their own supporters.
West Brom will once again be without No.1 Ben Foster in goal as he continues to recover from a groin operation. Boaz Myhill will continue to deputise.
Clarke is also sweating on the fitness of defender Gareth McAuley who picked up a hamstring injury while playing for Northern Ireland against Azerbaijan on Wednesday. The centre-back is expected to be fit but Gabriel Tamas is on stand-by in case he doesn’t make it.
Youssouf Mulumbu is winning his fight to be fit after suffering a slight hamstring strain while away with Congo, but on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is ineligible to face his parent club.
Chelsea will be without captain John Terry after he was ruled out for at least three weeks with a knee injury picked up during last weeks draw with Liverpool. The defender had only just returned to action following a four-match ban but is now facing another spell in the sidelines.
Ashley Cole is expected to feature after recovering from a hamstring strain but Frank Lampard remains out with a calf problem. Brazilian duo Oscar and David Luiz will be assessed after their long-haul trip to the USA with Brazil in midweek, but both are likely to play.
On paper the two teams look like a miss-match but West Brom have proven already this season that they are a match for any team, especially on their own turf. Much may depend on how the Blues players have recovered from their excursions in midweek, as many top sides seem to struggle following the international break. So we can see the Baggies pushing Chelsea all the way here, but the away side to just edge it. WBA 1-2 Chelsea.
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