After an indifferent start including a home defeat to Liverpool in the match prior, Chelsea kickstarted last season with a six-goal victory in the League Cup third round. The Blues followed that 7-1 win over Grimsby Town with six wins in a row and eight wins from ten, in all competitions.
After an indifferent start including a home defeat to Liverpool in the match prior, Chelsea will be hoping that Wednesday’s six-goal victory in the League Cup third round will similarly kickstart this season. With games coming up in three competitions, including the start of this year’s European campaign, and the team starting to gel and get healthy, another strong run would set us up well for the long campaign ahead.
Date / Time: Saturday, September 26, 2020, 17.30 BST; 12:30pm EDT; 10pm IST
Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, England
Referee: Jonathan Moss (on pitch); Lee Mason (VAR)
Forecast: Cool and breezy
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBC, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 2 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (USA); HotStar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
West Brom team news: Albion, under new manager Slaven Bilić, finished second in the second division last season, earning automatic promotion back to the Premier League after a two-year absence. But if they want to stay for at least two seasons, they’re going to need to improve quite a bit from their first two games, which they’ve lost by a combined 2-8 scoreline.
West Brom haven’t done much in the offseason to change the team however, so that might be a difficult task. He did bring in Chelsea legend Branislav Ivanović and Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher, but otherwise the only new faces are backup goalkeeper David Button and backup defender Cédric Kipré, who was with relegated Wigan Athletic in the Championship last season.
Gallagher, who earned rave reviews for his performance in the loss on penalties to Brentford in the League cup midweek (including a cheeky Panenka in the shootout), won’t be eligible to play of course, and it sounds like Branislav Ivanović will only be on the bench after lasting just an hour on Tuesday. West Brom are also sweating the fitness of Ahmed Hegazi, Kamil Grosicki, and Hal Robson-Kanu, while Kieran Gibbs is suspended after his red card last weekend against Everton.
Chelsea team news: Unlike Ivanović, Thiago Silva could be trusted with a start after his 60 minutes of League Cup action on Wednesday, although we also get Andreas Christensen back from his suspension and have both Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori playing well. (Bye-bye, Antonio Rüdiger.)
Unfortunately, neither Hakim Ziyech nor Christian Pulisic are fit yet, which leaves Lampard with just one fit (actual) winger once again, unless we’re ready to give Emerson an actual run at the spot like in the last 30 minutes against Barnsley, when he wasn’t even bad.
Édouard Mendy is not expected to play either, having just arrived on Thursday, though it would be a surprise if Kepa got the start over Caballero, who made several crucial saves in keeping the clean sheet three days ago.
Previously: Last two times we played West Brom we won 3-0 (home) and 4-0 (away), and in fact we haven’t lost to West Brom since a visit late in the 2014-15 season, by which time we had wrapped up the title. That’s the game in which Cesc Fàbregas was hilariously sent off for petulantly hitting Chris Brunt in the head with a cross (though he was probably aiming for the referee). Two years later, we had even more fun at The Hawthorns, as Michy Batshuayi scored to give us the title.