PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V WEST BROMWICH ALBION - PART TWO
Ahead of today's traditional three o'clock kick-off, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton complete their preview of two halves…
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are seeking a 10th successive win in league and cups against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge.
The Throstles were the second competitive visitors to Stamford Bridge, on 23 September 1905, and the first on a Saturday (Hull City played 12 days earlier on a Monday). Lavishly moustached centre-forward Bob McRoberts scored the only goal of the game, his second of the season.
The season before the Blues won the league for the first time, 1953/54, Ted Drake's side was already showing promise. An Albion team managed by Vic Buckingham played at the Bridge on 17 March (pictured below) with Frank Blunstone absent from the Chelsea line-up because of national service duties with the army.
Instead amateur Jim Lewis patrolled the left flank and he thoroughly enjoyed himself against the league leaders - as did his teammates.
'Hold everything,' scoffed Thursday's Daily Express afterwards. 'It's the Shock of the Year … West Bromwich Albion are beaten 5-0 in the League and who do it? Our old, unpredictable up-and-coming friends from Chelsea.'
Drake's 'champagne Chelsea', full of confidence, tore into the Baggies from the first minute in front of 46,000 spectators in what the Express dubbed 'the show of the season.'
Roy Bentley kickstarted the afternoon by cleverly laying off to inrushing wing-half Derek Saunders (below second from right) to open the scoring on nine minutes. Three minutes later Bentley latched on to a Ken Armstrong (below far right) pass, beat a defender and unselfishly crossed for Johnnie McNichol to hit an empty net.
Bentley also had a hand in the third, crossing for Eric Parsons to chest down deftly. Les Stubbs scored despite offiside appeals. Lewis steered the ball past goalkeeper Heath for the fourth time and in the second half Bentley deservedly hit the fifth. Parsons and McNichol combined down the right, Lewis nodded down the cross and Bentley dispatched high in to the net.
The Baggies were FA Cup semi-finalists - Chelsea had been one of their victims en route - and after watching them flop in London, Freddie Steele, manager of rivals-in-waiting Port Vale declared: 'I had hoped Albion would go on winning their matches until they met us. Then they would have been riding high and might have been over-confident.'
West Brom reached the final with a 2-1 win, overcoming Preston North End (including Tommy Docherty) 3-2 to lift the trophy.
Chelsea are looking to extend our current unbeaten home run against West Bromwich to 13 games in all competitions. The Baggies last win against us was here in November 1983 in the League Cup third round at Stamford Bridge. The 11 game run consists of 10 wins and one draw.
The last occasion the Baggies came away from the Bridge with a league win was in September 1978 when Ron Atkinson managed the side to a 3-1 victory. Goals came from Cyrille Regis John Wile, and Tony Brown. Steve Wicks opened the scoring for Chelsea.
Shane Long scored the one Premier League goal the Baggies have scored in their last 11½ hours' play at Stamford Bridge.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
1984/85 - Chelsea won 3-1 - Division One
1985/86 - Chelsea won 3-0 - Division One
1988/89 - Drew 1-1 - Division Two
2002/03 - Chelsea won 2-0 - Premier League
2004/05 - Chelsea won 1-0 - Premier League
2005/06 - Chelsea won 4-0 - Premier League
2008/09 - Chelsea won 2-0 - Premier League
2010/11 - Chelsea won 6-0 - Premier League
2011/12 - Chelsea won 2-1 - Premier League
2012/13 - Chelsea won 1-0 - Premier League
Other match last season
17 November 2012 Barclays Premier League
West Brom.……..……2 Chelsea………..……1
Long 9 Hazard 39
Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion in all competitions
Games played 129
Chelsea wins 54
Baggies wins 42
Head-to-head in the league at Stamford Bridge
Games played 57
Chelsea wins 29
Baggies wins 14
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 7-1 West Brom - 03/12/1960
Chelsea 2-5 West Brom - 17/04/1929
Chelsea dropped points at home to the Baggies: 9,079
West Brom won in the capital: 318
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,094
Liverpool won the league: 8,589
In previous visits to Stamford Bridge Steve Clarke has set his side up very defensively with the aim of staying in the game as long as possible before switching to a more offensive plan. Only West Ham have drawn as many times on the road as West Bromwich Albion.
In this fixture last season Ben Foster made several very good reaction saves to help restrict the hosts to a 1-0 victory. Along with regular attacking midfielder Zoltan Gera, the goalie is ruled out this time through injury.
Right-back Billy Jones has a hamstring injury so winger Morgan Amalfitano may step back into that role - it forces the first change in Clarke's ever-present back four. The change may affect the balance of their usual attacking tactic of playing the ball wide to Amalfitano (or Saido Berahino) and Chris Brunt to put in crosses for Nicolas Anelka, Victor Anichebe or Shane Long to latch onto.
Anichebe is reportedly available but former Blues winger Scott Sinclair is rated a doubt, as is Nicolas Anelka. Ominously, Anelka has epitomised the 'law of the ex' by scoring regularly against former clubs Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Bolton.
Long (pictured below), who may start on Saturday, opened the scoring with a header in Albion's 2-1 win over the Blues at the Hawthorns last season. Amalfitano and Berahino were the goalscorers in the Throstles' excellent win at Old Trafford earlier this season.
Former Sunderland man Stephane Sessegnon's ability to beat a man and find space in the final third often provides promising openings more centrally. However he has played five games for the Mackems against the Blues, losing every time.
Jose Mourinho will weigh up his options at centre-back after the Champions League shutout, as well as in the centre of midfield, having selected John Mikel Obi alongside Ramires rather than Frank Lampard. One return to the Blues squad is Eden Hazard, omitted midweek.
The Belgian will be keen to make amends this weekend if involved, especially after such strong performances from Andre Schurrle and Willian in the 3-0 win over the Germans. The Baggies are not strong around their own box and can be negligent when it comes to giving away free kicks in dangerous areas.
Former Hull goalie Boaz Myhill is expected to have recovered from an Achilles problem and will have studied the behaviour of Chelsea's new stealth weapon, Samuel Eto'o. Timo Hildebrand followed Cardiff's David Marshall in learning of the Cameroonian's cunning when it comes to goalkeepers.