Chelsea - West Brom Preview: Embattled Benitez seeking win to lift Stamford Bridge gloom
The under-fire Blues boss will be desperately looking for a return to winning ways in the Premier League to boost the club’s Champions League qualification hopes
By Rhys Turrell
Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole
Moses, Mata, Hazard
Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell
Dorrans, Morrison, Brunt
Interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez looks set to make numerous changes to the team that defeated Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Wednesday night, with the likes of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Demba Ba all set to return.
Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (leg) missed the win on Teeside and is unlikely to be involved, but centre-back Gary Cahill (virus) could be available for selection after also missing the win at 'Boro.
One man who definitely will not be involved is central midfielder Oriol Romeu (knee), who is out for the remainder of the season.
West Brom boss Steve Clarke will be without striker Romelu Lukaku who is ineligable to play against his parent club.
However Baggies striker Shane Long (ankle) should be fit to start at Stamford Bridge after resuming training midway through the week.
Defender Goran Popov (ban) serves the final match of a three-game suspension for spitting at Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker, while midfielders Zoltan Gera and George Thorne (both knee) are out for the rest of the season.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea's last two managers have been sacked after defeats to West Brom. Andre Villas-Boas was axed after a 1-0 defeat at the Hawthorns in March 2012 and his replacement Roberto Di Matteo departed the club after a 2-1 defeat in November of the same year.
- Rafa Benitez's win ratio of 51.9% makes him the Blues' ninth most successful manager in the Premier League area. He is lower than the likes of Avram Grant (66.7%), Luiz Felipe Scolari (55.6%) and Claudio Ranieri 53.3%.
- Chelsea have been awarded more penalties (nine) than any other side in the Premier League this season.
- Blues midfielder Frank Lampard (right) is now just three goals shy of equaling the club's all-time scoring record of 202, which was set by striker Bobby Tambling in the 1960s and 70s. He is 13/10 to score anytime with bet365.
- West Brom have conceded 32% of their goals on the road after the 80th minute this season.
- In seven of their last eight Premier League wins the Baggies have scored exactly two goals.
- The Black Country side have a win ratio of less than 25% for the month of March. They have four wins in 20 games.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Sign up today with Coral and get a £50 FREE bet - no strings attached!|
|Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|Sign up with Betway for an exclusive bet £10 get £20 free bet!|
Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
- 17.23 %
Chelsea FC 3-1 West Bromwich Albion
- 15.07 %
Chelsea FC 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
- 11.88 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 9, 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - West Bromwich Albion 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Mar 2, 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 17, 2012||West Bromwich Albion 2 - Chelsea FC 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Mar 3, 2012||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Chelsea FC 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Aug 20, 2011||Chelsea FC 2 - West Bromwich Albion 1|
|Dec 7, 2013||Stoke 3 - Chelsea FC 2||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea FC 4||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea FC 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||West Ham 0 - Chelsea FC 3||EPL|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
|30||Sebastien Gabriel Tamaş||Defender|
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed