The unhappiest of hunting grounds await Chelsea at a rather trying time. Three losses and one draw is our record at the Hawthorns since 2011, a record that would be more appropriate for some place like the Camp Nou, or the Bernabéu, or the Allianz Arena.
Two of those three losses preceded manager firings. While Mourinho isn't at all likely to suffer the same fate as Andre Villas-Boas or Roberto Di Matteo did, he also has not managed to find a win there since returning to Chelsea. No time like the present to break that streak.
Normally fast starters, Chelsea are off to our worst start to a league campaign since 1998. That year, we finished 3rd, just four points off the leaders. Chelsea are also off to the worst start for a defending champion since Manchester United in 2007. United of course went on to win the Premier League and Champions League double. So, the point is, it's a long season and anything can happen.
Sunday will mark The
Special Happy Unhappy One's 300th match in charge of Chelsea. He will be just the fifth manager in our history to do so, and the first since Dave Sexton reached that milestone in the early '70s. Others include David Calderhead, Ted Drake, and Tommy Docherty. Good company.
Let's make this an occasion to remember for good reasons.
Date / Time: Sunday, August 23, 2015, 13:30 BST; 8:30am EDT; 6pm IST
Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, England
Referee: Mark Clattenburg — this will be ol' Clatts' 26th Chelsea match (17-5-3). We last saw him in Leicester, during our 3-1 win there that put us within a win of last year's Premier League title.
Forecast: Warm and sunshiny, turning to rain
On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); USA, NBC Universo (USA); Star Sports HD 4 (India); elsewhere
Online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra (USA)
West Bromwich Albion team news: Goalkeeper Ben Foster is still recovering from the ACL injury suffered in March. Everyone else is available, including new signing Salomon Rondon, whom we had the pleasure of meeting in the Europa League a couple years ago, when he still played for Rubin Kazan. For more on West Brom and Pulis-ball, check out Rob's opposition preview.
Dating back to last season, West Brom have just 3 wins in their last 11 Premier League games. They have yet to score a goal this season.
Chelsea team news: Thibaut Courtois has been confirmed to resume his first-choice goalkeeping duties after serving a one-match suspension. Victor Moses and Oscar remain sidelined with minor injuries. Their absence, in addition to our flagging form could see new boy Pedro in action right away.
Mourinho's more crucial and certainly more watched decision will be in defense. Our tried and trusted foursome is having serious issues and a shake-up is quickly becoming overdue. John Terry might have already retired, if some reports are to be believed. Still, it would be suprising to see another new arrival, Baba Rahman get into the game straight away.
Previously: This is still easily one of the funniest moments of last season, if not the last few years.