West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea
As Premier League clashes go this could scarcely be any different.
One club is a medium sized club with a passionate loyal following which has seen its team yo-yo around the top two divisions for much of the last 15 years and often managed to stay afloat in the top flight by careful management and astute signings at relatively cheap prices.
The other club is a large club which also has a passionate loyal following and has also made some astute signings over the years but, largely, for the past quarter of a century has rarely been short of cash and enjoyed largesse in the transfer market which has led to great glories.
With that in mind, I just paused and wondered for a moment what it would be like 10 years from now if the clubs swapped resources for a decade or so.
We will never know of course, not unless Roman Abramovich is plotting a switch that would take football shockwaves to a new level.
Anyway that won’t happen so, as we look ahead to this clash at the Hawthorns, we could see more action for players who, collectively, have cost the west Londoners more than £200 million this summer, while the newly promoted Baggies simply ponder how to stop them.
That, of course, does mean likely Premier League highlights.
For the hosts there could be a reunion with former Chelsea favourite Branislav Ivanovic who made his debut in the League Cup in midweek after joining the Midlands club on a one-year deal.
Ivanovic has spent the last three years with Zenit St Petersburg after nine years with Chelsea during which he won three Premier League titles, a Champions League, Europa League and many more trophies.
Home boss Slaven Billic will be hoping to get a result after losing their opening two games of the Premier League season followed by a midweek League Cup defeat to Brentford in a penalty shootout.
Bilic will be without the suspended Kieran Gibbs after the former Arsenal man saw red mist in the 5-2 defeat to Everton last weekend. Centre-back Ahmed Hegazi and striker Kenneth Zohore are unlikely to feature through injury, while Kamil Grosicki is a doubt.
Chelsea may have brought in such exciting attacking talents as Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in the off-season but this still does seem very much like a team in the making at the moment – although with such a financial outlay there may be the desire for more immediate results
The Blues began this season of great expectation with a stuttering win against Brighton followed by a convincing defeat at home to Liverpool.
They were far too strong for lower league Barnsley in the League Cup though with a thumping 6-0 victory, helped by a Havertz hat-trick.
They were able to hand debuts to Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell in that match, easing them back from injury with less than 90 minutes for each. However, fellow summer signing Hakim Ziyech is not expected to return until October after picking up a knee injury in a pre-season friendly, while Christian Pulisic remains a doubt as he gradually recovers from a thigh injury.
Andreas Christensen is available after serving his one-match suspension.
Whatever happens, the difference in resources off the field will surely show on the pitch in the Midlands. Or can David really slay Goliath?
West Brom have won this fixture more times than you’d think, enjoying victory on 42 occasions since their first-ever meeting in 1905.
Overall, Chelsea have the upper hand with 62 triumphs and 35 draws.
West Brom last beat Chelsea five years ago by which time the west Londoners had won the league title and had nothing to play for.
Since then they have met six times with Chelsea winning five, including a league double over the Baggies two seasons ago.
Then they won 4-0 in the Midlands with Eden Hazard (two), Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso finding the net.
Hazard was also on target in the return fixture with a double along with Victor Moses in a 3-0 win.
The only time West Brom have taken anything from Chelsea since 2015 was in January 2016 when Craig Gardner and James McClean scored in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
|West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea||Over 2.75@ 1.89|
|September 27, 00:30 (GMT+8)|
West Brom are well adrift in the SBOTOP Premier League betting odds, priced 1X2 @ 8.00 and Asian Handicap +1.00 @ 2.40. A draw may be tempting @ 2.52, whereas Chelsea 1X2 @ 1.89 and Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 2.20 show how the west Londoners are firm favourites.
A repeat of their last meeting at the Hawthorns – correct score 0-4 – will pay out @ 18.00.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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