After the 0-0 draw against Stoke City last weekend, at the Britannia Stadium, Andre Villas-Boas will be keen to register his first Premier League win of the season when West Bromwich Albion visit Stamford Bridge.
The fixture also gives Roberto Di Matteo the opportunity to gain some sort of revenge after being sacked by the West Midlands outfit last season, despite leading them back to the Premier League at the first attempt the previous season.
The game has been picked of live television coverage with ESPN showing the game.
West Bromwich Albion arrive at Stamford Bridge this season with a different man in charge. As we`ve already stated Roberto Di Matteo is no longer in charge, but is relishing his new role as Andre`s assistant, and the well respected Roy Hodgson is running the Hawthorns side.
Hodgson, at this time last season, was in charge of Liverpool and had a certain Fernando Torres in his squad. Hodgson is an admirer of our record signing and had this to say about the Spaniard on BBC Radio,
“Fernando Torres is a top-quality player and I fear I shall see that at close hand on Saturday.””I think he needed a rest, that was for certain. Has the break done him good? I am sure it has – it has been a long, ling tear.
Andre Villas-Boas held his traditional pre-match press conference a day earlier than usual, entertaining the media on Thursday rather than Friday. With Michael Essien already out, courtesy of a long-term knee problem, those in attendance were shocked to hear that the ultra-reliable Petr Cech had also picked up a knee injury, during training that would rule him out for the next three to four weeks. Ross Turnball is expected to get the nod here.
Also missing from those in contention will be David Luiz with Andre stating he is still a week away from being available for selection after coming back from international duty with a slight injury.
Despite reports to the contrary, John Mikel Obi, who is going through a harrowing time, is available for selection and our thoughts remain with the likeable Nigerian as the kidnap horror continues.
Also added to the squad are his two latest acquisitions Romelu Lukaku and Oriol Romeu.
Fernando Torres The Spaniard did everything but score at the Britannia Stadium, land with a little luck he can open his account for this season.
Roy Hodgson brings his squad to Stamford Bridge having seen his side narrowly lose to Manchester United last time out. Roy, widely accepted as a gentleman of the game, would probably have wished for an easier start than taking on United and Chelsea in his opening two games.
Last Sunday, he was without his star striker – Peter Odemwingie, the striker may well be fit for this encounter. Summer signings – Zoltan Gera (Fulham) and Gareth McAuley (Ipswich) have bolstered the squad and Hodgson will be looking towards the likes of Shane Long, Chris Brunt, Soemn Tchoyi and Youssof Mulumbu to unsettle Chelsea. Chris Brunt, the former Sheffield Wednesday winger, has developed his game and his crossing ability, allied with his free kick skills, could trouble Chelsea.
West Bromwich arrived in SW6 for the first game of the 2010/2011 season and were soundly beaten 6-0. It was a harsh lesson in what the Premier League had in store for them.But with Roy Hodgson having replaced Di Matteo, at the helm, the Baggies have tightened up their defence and will be looking to keep things tight.
Last week, against Manchester United, they were unlucky to lose after matching the current Premier League Champions for a considerable period of the match.
Chelsea, on the other hand, will be looking to get their first goal of the new season after a 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium where, quite possibly, we deserved all three points.
Match Prediction:I have this feeling this will be a tight game, West Brom will arrive determined not to suffer a repeat of the 6-0 thrashing dished out last season and will be looking to snatch something on the break. If Chelsea continue where they left off in the second half, against Stoke, the three points will be ours in a comfortable win. But, if they produce the kind of display they produced in the first forty-five minutes at the Britannia Stadium then Andre Villas-Boas could well be reading them the riot act. I`m going for a 3-1 win to Chelsea.