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Match preview- West Brom vs Chelsea

600   //    03 Mar 2012, 08:47 IST

After their first win in five matches last weekend, can Chelsea continue to improve away to West Brom?

Not since the start of the Abramovich era has a win over Bolton been greeted with such relief at Stamford bridge. Anything less would have resulted in more pressure being piled upon manager Andre Villas-Boas, already under pressure after Chelsea’s recent defeats away to Everton and Napoli.

In the 3-0 triumph over Bolton, the Portuguese manager put Frank Lampard in the starting eleven, with the experienced Lampard scoring a goal. Many believe that if Lampard had played in Naples, the outcome for Chelsea would’ve been less decisive- perhaps even a draw or a win for Chelsea, instead of a loss.

It shall be interesting to see whether or not Villas-Boas includes Lampard, as Chelsea’s young coach hasn’t utilized Lampard as much as previous managers such as Guus Hiddink and Avram Grant have. Many believe that despite his attempts to use the younger players in the squads, Chelsea need goals and Lampard offers those. Michael Essien, who was out due to injury until January is another player who started against Bolton and not Napoli.

Regardless of Andre Villas-Boas’ team selection on Saturday, West Brom will represent a tough challenge for Chelsea on Saturday. The Baggies last two matches have been a 5-1 demolition of local rivals Wolves, which resulted in the sacking of Wolves manager Mick McCarthy, and then another superb performance, this time a 4-0 home win against Sunderland. These two wins mean West Brom have scored nine goals in their last two matches, with five of those goals being scored by Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie.

To conclude, Chelsea will have to work particularly hard in order to leave the hawthorns with all three points. However, last time Chelsea visited the home of the baggies, they won in convincing fashion with a 3-1 victory. If Chelsea can get a similar result, the pressure that is currently weighing on Andre Villas-Boas’ mind may be decreased significantly, temporarily at least.

Written by Joshua Sodergren

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