Chelsea vs West Brom Preview, Team News, Likely Line-ups + Score & Betting Predictions
All eyes will be on interim boss Rafa Benitez when Chelsea welcome West Brom to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon. Here is a full preview for the big game.
All eyes will be on interim boss Rafa Benitez when Chelsea welcome West Brom to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
The Spaniard made a midweek outburst aimed at some sections of the Chelsea support who continue to call for his head and will no doubt face a hostile reception from some of the Stamford Bridge faithful on Saturday.
Results on the pitch haven’t helped Benitez win-over his critics with the Blues winning just two of their last six league games, with two defeats in their last three leaving the European champions clinging on to fourth place in the table.
Fifth-placed Arsenal are now just two points behind but face third-placed Tottenham on Sunday so Chelsea will be hoping to take advantage with a win this weekend to boost their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Former Chelsea coach Steve Clarke brings his West Brom side to the Bridge this weekend sitting seventh in the table after successive victories, so should be full of confidence heading into the game. However, the Baggies have been poor on the road this season, winning just four games away from home all season and have a disappointing record away at Chelsea losing on their last eight visits.
Chelsea have been boosted with the news that defenders Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta have been passed fit for the game and are in contention to start after the pair missed Wednesday’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Middlesbrough through injury.
Benitez is expected to make several changes to his starting eleven with the likes of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, David Luiz, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba all likely to return after being rested in midweek.
Oriol Romeu is the Blues only long-term injury concern as he continues to be sidelined with a knee ligament problem.
On-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku wont feature as he’s ineligible to face his parent club so Shane Long is expected to spearhead the West Brom attack on his own, as long as he can shake off an ankle knock that he picked up last week against Sunderland.
Defender Goran Popov remains out through suspension after being sent-off against Tottenham.
Betting preview and predictions
After Rafa’s turbulent week, the last thing he would want to hear is that defeats to West Brom were the last game in charge for both Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Mattoe. Could lightning strike for a third time this weekend? I don’t think so, as I can see Chelsea winning this game and Rafa hanging on to his job for a little while longer.
But am I confident enough to put some money on it? Well, to help me decide and to see if my optimism was well placed, I headed over to Betegy.com and their prediction software has crunched the numbers and they support my view that Chelsea will collect the three points this weekend. They predict there is a 42% chance of a Chelsea win, 36% chance of a draw with an away win at just 22%:
A Chelsea win is currently 4/9 with William Hill which doesn’t represent great value but if betting on the exact score is more your thing, Betegy data predicts there is a 33% chance that the Blues will win the match 2-1 which is currently a very tempting 15/2 shot with William Hill. So that would be my prediction and betting tip for the game.
Why not head over to Betegy and see what all the fuss is about? It’s free to join and you’ll receive free and accurate predictions for games throughout Europe every week. They have an excellent success rate so far so why not give it a try?
What would be your starting line-up and what’s you score prediction for the game? Get involved in the comments section below.