By 90Min
November 17, 2017

West Brom host Chelsea at The Hawthorns this Saturday as domestic football returns following the international break. 

Last time out, Chelsea bounced back after a poor defensive display against Roma to secure a win and a clean sheet at home to Manchester United, while West Brom were beaten at Huddersfield by a stunning Rajiv van La Parra strike.

Twelve positions and 12 points separate the Blues and West Brom in the league table.

Here's what you need to know ahead of Saturday's match.


Classic Encounter

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This fixture six months ago turned out to be a historic evening for Chelsea as they secured the Premier League title. 


Chelsea headed to the Midlands on the Friday evening sitting seven points ahead of nearest challengers Tottenham, and a win would have secured their second Premier League title in three seasons. 


The visitors were somewhat frustrated by West Brom, who defended strongly to keep the Blues out. 


With around 15 minutes to go, it looked like Chelsea would have to wait until the following week to secure the title.


Salomon Rondon nearly snatched the three points from Conte's side as he raced through but Cesar Azpilicueta tracked back to clear the danger. 


Michy Batshuayi was a forgotten man within the Chelsea ranks but was called upon by Antonio Conte as Chelsea pushed for the decisive winner. 

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Ten minutes later and the breakthrough was made. The Belgian turned a Azpilicueta cross past Ben Foster to send everyone connected with Chelsea into delirium. 


Key Battles

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Alvaro Morata vs Jonny Evans

The new arrival at Chelsea has proved his worth so far this season, netting seven goals in his opening 10 Premier League games.

Jonny Evans, who will be up against Morata, will certainly have a tough afternoon. One clean sheet and 14 goals conceded in the league so far this season highlights their current weakness at the back. 

Saturday will prove whether Evans is backing under-fire manager Tony Pulis, who needs a win and may only have two games to save his job. 

If Morata takes his chances, unlike against Manchester United where he could have bagged more than one, Evans could have a torrid day, potentially costing Pulis his job. 

But with West Brom known for their defensive stubbornness and with the fixture in May being tight, it certainly looks as though this is going to be a key battle in the outcome of the game.


Team News

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West Brom's midfield duo of Nacer Chadli and James Morrison have been ruled out of the fixture against Chelsea on Saturday afternoon. 


Chadli sustained a hip injury in training, while Scotland international Morrison has just undergone Achilles surgery.

Defender Craig Dawson is also not included in Tony Pulis' provisional squad.

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Chelsea travel to the Hawthorns without Belgian pair Michy Batshuayi and Charly Musonda.

Batshuayi is out with an ankle injury and youngster Musonda is unavailable due to a knee problem.

Despite pulling out of Tuesday's friendly against Brazil, Gary Cahill is ready to return to action, alongside Danny Drinkwater.

David Luiz will travel with the side after Antonio Conte revealed it was a tactical decision to leave him out of the win against Manchester United.


Victor Moses is the only other absentee. 


Predicted West Brom Lineup - Foster; Nyom, Evans, Hegazi, Gibbs; Livermore, Krychowiak, Barry; Phillips, Rondon, McClean.

Predicted Chelsea Lineup - Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen; Cahill; Zappacosta, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Hazard, Fabregas, Morata.


Prediction

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It will be a tough ask for Tony Pulis and his side to come away with anything on Saturday, with their defence as frail as it is. 

Chelsea haven't been as clinical as they should have been in recent weeks, particularly when they beat Manchester United by the single goal.

With good memories at the Hawthorns, Chelsea will approach the game with confidence and dominate it, picking up a fairly standard win away from home.

Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Chelsea

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