West Brom-Chelsea Preview

Thomas Tuchel defended Timo Werner after the Chelsea striker missed a glorious chance for Germany in midweek, while keeping a lid on the Erling Haaland speculation.

Werner missed a glaring opportunity for Germany in their final World Cup qualifier of the March international break, with Joachim Low's side going on to lose 2-1 to minnows North Macedonia.

The former RB Leipzig forward has struggled for goals this season, scoring just five times in the league, and only once since November, but Tuchel stood by the misfiring 25-year-old.

"It was a bad pass from Ilkay Gundogan is how I see it! I'm only joking," Tuchel chuckled ahead of Saturday's clash with West Brom. "(Werner) is in a moment where he lacks confidence and things aren't too easy, but he still works for us. If this is the most critical point of his career you can say it's still pretty impressive so far."

Werner was a star in the Bundesliga, and another striking sensation from Germany's top flight has been linked with a switch to Chelsea.

Haaland looks set to be a target for many of Europe's elite sides this year, with his agent Mino Raiola having held talks with Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Manchester City are mooted to hold an interest.

But Tuchel insisted Haaland was not up for discussion.

"There is big news around him and his agent. It seems like they are creating a race for the player and I will fully accept this a player for Borussia Dortmund."

While Chelsea are battling for the top four, West Brom are scrambling in the relegation zone, and Sam Allardyce has stated he is uncertain over his future.

"If I'm to stay at West Brom, I'd want to be getting them back in the Premier League at the first time of asking – like I did when I joined West Ham," he told BBC Sport. "I wouldn't want to mess about. But we all need to be going in the same direction."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chelsea – Hakim Ziyech

Ziyech has scored in both of his last two appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, the same number as in his first 24 games for the club. The Moroccan has not netted in three consecutive club games since a run of four in January 2016 with FC Twente.

West Brom – Callum Robinson

All three of West Brom forward Robinson's Premier League goals have been scored against Chelsea, scoring once for Sheffield United last season and twice in the reverse fixture for the Baggies this term.

KEY OPTA FACTS

• Chelsea are yet to concede a single goal in their five Premier League home games under Tuchel. In English top-flight history, the only team to keep a clean sheet in their first six home games under a specific manager are Manchester City under Ron Saunders in 1973-74.

• After conceding 28 goals in their first 10 Premier League games under Allardyce (2.8 per game), West Brom have shipped just three times in their last six in the competition (0.5 per game). However, the Baggies have scored just 10 goals in 16 league games under Allardyce (0.6 per game), failing to score in their last three.

• Chelsea have had five goalless draws in the Premier League this season, with three of those coming in their 10 games under Tuchel. Only in 1998-99 and 2001-02 (both six) have the Blues had more 0-0 draws in a single Premier League campaign.

• Since a 0-1 defeat to Bournemouth in December 2015, Chelsea have won their last 11 Premier League home games against sides in the relegation zone by an aggregate score of 31-4.

• West Brom are winless in their last 15 away league games against Chelsea (D3 L12) since a 3-1 win in September 1978. In the Premier League, the Baggies have lost 10 of their 12 visits to Stamford Bridge (D2), failing to score on nine occasions in that run.