Away days have been our forte this season, picking up memorable wins at both Arsenal and Tottenham already, and we are yet to be beaten on the road.
However, Chelsea fans won’t need a great memory to recall our 1-0 loss at The Hawthorns last year, but despite that, we have won 11 out of the 12 Premier League clashes between the clubs, which is the stat that our faithful will be concentrating on.
The Baggies have had their own little run this year, only two late goals from Edin Dzeko have prevented them from recording a super six victories at home this season.
Terry is out, Cole is doubtful, and Torres rumours are rife yet again. Great news, lets hear from the opposition. We got hold of Mark Thomas, who is co-editor of the @albiontillwedie page, a must visit for you Albion fans out there. We also speak to Jess Ackroyd, with the inventive @JessAckroyd twitter handle, and got both of their views, on what proves to be a very entertaining game.
So, Mark and Jess, five wins from six at the Hawthorns so far this season, and that could have been all six had Edin Dzeko not turned up, how surprised are you by your early season form?
Mark: I think it’s fair to say we didn’t expect to be in 5th place at this stage of the season, although hopes were high before the season started that we would improve on last season’s 10th place finish. It has to be said we are in 5th place on merit following some excellent performances and results. The probability is that we will fall away so we are definitely enjoying it whilst we can.
Jess: I am quite surprised. I wasn’t too sure what to think of appointing Steve Clarke at first, but I am very impressed. He’s carried on all the good work that started with Di Matteo and continued with Hodgson.
We have fond memories of Steve Clarke here at Chelsea, and he seems to be establishing himself well as a manager, how far do you think he can take you, and where would you be happy finishing this season?
Mark: He’s doing far better than most expected me included. He’s shown himself to be pretty good tactically and he’s certainly not afraid to make big decisions. Admittedly a lot of the groundwork was put in by previous manager Roy Hodgson but Clarke has been sensible enough not to change things too much and he’s reaping the rewards as a result. Despite our excellent start and talk of Europe, most Baggies’ fans would be happy with another top ten finish.
Jess: I would be very pleased if we could stay inside the top 10 for the rest of the season. I think that’s possible. Maybe a push for Europe but I wouldn’t be disappointed if we don’t make that this season. I would love to emulate what Newcastle and Everton have done the last few seasons.
From the outside, your midfield looks like your strongest area, with young players like Morrison, Dorrans and Mulumbu. Who do you think is the player that Chelsea must watch out for most on Saturday?
Mark: Mulumbu and Morrison are both having excellent seasons but I think the player that will pose most the threat to Chelsea is Peter Odemwingie. During the last few games he has started to regain his confidence and looks more like the player we know he can be. Ironically he might not have started if Romelu Lukaku had been able to play.
Jess: Definitely James Morrison for me! He crosses wonderfully for others, and he creates chances for himself too.
We’ll make sure we tell Robby Di Matteo that. As you will know, Chelsea are blessed with a huge array of talent, but if you had to pick one player to put in your West Brom team, who would it be, and why?
Mark: Despite all the quality players you have in midfield and up front I’d probably say Ashley Cole. Ignoring all the nonsense surrounding his personal life there’s no question he’s still one of the best defenders in Europe.
Jess: This is hard! Well I chose Ivanovic for my fantasy football team! A defender that can score, as well as defend. Also, it might nice to keep Lukaku after his loan spell is over! I like him but he’s still a little raw at the moment.
Good choices, a lot of people punt for Mata or Hazard! Finally, what do you think the scoreline will be tomorrow, and who will get the goals?
Mark: I think both teams are pretty confident at the moment so it should be an exciting game with a few goals. I don’t expect us to repeat last March’s victory but we may have enough about us to earn a share of the points. I’ll say 2-2, Odemwingie and Long on the scoresheet for us, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Torres on the score sheet, out of form players always seem to do well against us!
Jess: I think we might lose today, nice and optimistic. I think 2-1 to Chelsea, Shane Long will be on the score sheet for us, and Mata and Moses will get yours. That’s my guess.
I think we are all hoping for an entertaining game, hopefully one that tips in our favour, but we wish West Brom to best of luck for the season, of course after this match.
If you want to be considered for the Chelsea previews, get in touch via any of the Twitter links below, and if you support any Premier League team, don’t hesitate to get in touch before you face Chelsea, as we would love to consider you for the oppositions piece.
Thanks again to Mark and Jess, and kickoff will be the standard 15:00GMT, if you can’t make the match, we will be posting a link to watch the game around 10 minutes before kick off, on the Twitter and Facebook pages.
By Brad Smith