The two teams the old fashioned way
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma, James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso, Pulisic, Werner, Ziyech
West Brom: Johnstone, Furlong, Bartley, Ajayi, O’Shea, Yokuslu, Phillips, Townsend, Maitland-Niles, Pereira, Diagne
A bit surprised Giroud does not start
There is not going to be much space behind West Brom’s defence today, so it will be interesting to see how effective Werner can be. Chelsea’s attack looks a little shy of penalty box presence. They might need to be patient.
West Brom team
Chelsea team and subs: Werner starts up front
No start for Abraham according to our man at the Bridge
A game Chelsea can only lose if they beat themselves
Chelsea have an inviting opportunity to put five points between them and fifth-place West Ham United against a West Brom team who looked racing certainties for relegation.
Thomas Tuchel has organised Chelsea and given them a solid base to work from. They have not conceded a goal in their last seven games in all competitions although did drop points in their last league game before the international break with a goalless draw at Leeds. Their only injury absentee who is N’Golo Kante, who looked back to his best in a magnificent individual performance against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Consecutive league matches against West Brom, Crystal Palace and Brighton gives Chelsea a real chance of cementing their place in the top four. Tuchel – named Premier League manager of the month on Friday – also has Thiago Silva available again in defence.
“It’s the best situation you can have as a manager,” Tuchel said of having a fully fit squad. “We can substitute players or replace players that are injured without a loss of quality.”
West Brom are 10 points adrift of Newcastle United but have kept three clean sheets in their last five Premier League games. Taking one point from games against Newcastle and Palace looks insufficient. They did race into a 3-0 lead against Chelsea at the Hawthorns in the early weeks of the season, only to be pegged back to 3-3. If they are relegated, Allardyce says he will only remain at the club if he is backed in the transfer market and they have a realistic chance of promotion.
“It needs both sides to agree what we are going to do,” he said.
“If one of us disagrees, we hold our hands up and say ‘thank you very much’. If we both agree to go forward, we get on with it.
“It’s a very complex situation to sit down and look at.
“How much money do they think they need to save? How many key players would they have to let go? What budget would be available?”
Team news on the way shortly.