Even more so than last weekend, neither team really have anything substantial left to fight for in this one. Maybe a couple individual records, but as far as the teams are concerned, they might as well shut it down. Chelsea have won the league. WBA have survived a fifth straight year in the Premier League thanks to a midseason shift change to the Magic of Tony Pulis. I saw the Baggies last summer in person when they played a couple pre-season friendlies against the local USL side (and eventual champions of that secondary American league) Sacramento Republic FC and they sure have come a long way from those rather unimpressive outings.
The pre-match butterings-up from the two managers will probably play into a more relaxed atmosphere, even as they both still claim that they'll respect the competition and the occasion and all that inconsequential nonsense. Mourinho, for his part, has promised a more youthful lineup than against Liverpool, even mentioning Nathan Aké and Izzy Brown by name. It will be Brown's Chelsea debut, incidentally, against the team and at the stadium where he made his professional debut as a 16-year-old two years ago. That made him the second youngest player to ever play in the Premier League, but he hasn't played in the Premier League since.
In any case, this should be a more fun occasion than an occasion facing a Tony Pulis side has any right to be. We might even see a few goals!
Date / Time: Monday, May 18, 2015, 20:00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, England
Referee: Mike Jones — only the second game this season for the man who should not be confused with the rapper Mikejoooooooones. Mr. Jones has refereed 10 Chelsea games in his career, we've won 9 of them, including the 2-1 over QPR at the start of November.
Forecast: Rainy and cool.
On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); NBCSN (USA); Star Sports 4 / HD (India); elsewhere
Online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra (USA); Star Sports (India)
WBA team news: West Brom are unbeaten in four straight, conceding just a solitary goal despite playing against Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Newcastle. Pulis can once again call on a basically fully fit squad (goalkeeper Ben Foster has been out with an ACL tear for much of the year). There's some drama with Stephane Sessegnon though and he may have already played his last for the Baggies.
Chelsea team news: Youth, youth, and more youth. Except of course John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic. And possibly Diego Costa up front. And a few other usual suspects. But otherwise, the youth revolution is here! (Not really.)
Previously: Chelsea have zero wins in the last three visits to The Hawthorns, and just two wins from the last six matches against the Baggies overall. This will the 133rd meeting all-time between the two sides, with Chelsea holding a 55-42 edge in wins.