March begins with the month's only Saturday fixture. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton build up to the traditional kick-off time with their traditional preview…
Following a thoroughly efficient 2-0 victory at the Riverside in the FA Cup the focus swings back to main business of any football club, the league campaign. West Brom were the second competitive visitors to Stamford Bridge way back in 1905.
In the present day Chelsea have enjoyed home wins on the spin in the Barclays Premier League and we have a 100 per cent home record against the Baggies, who are managed by popular former Chelsea player and coach, Steve Clarke.
Albion will also be without another Blue, their man of the moment, Romelu Lukaku. The striker, benefiting from playing regularly, has netted six of the Baggies' last 10 goals but is ineligible under the terms of his loan from Stamford Bridge.
As a result of Chelsea's progress to the quarter-finals our Premier League trip to Fulham on Sunday 10 March is now postponed. Instead, on the date our club was founded 108 years ago, we travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.
Although a fixtures snarl-up caused by a replay against Boro was avoided, rescheduling the Craven Cottage match will hand other sides the chance to steal an advantage, however temporarily, in the fight for Champions League places.
The club's intensive schedule finally eases in a fortnight's time - but not for internationals, some of whom will play twice either side of the weekend of 23/24 March.
When West Brom beat the Blues 2-1 in mid-November it nudged them into third spot, the high water mark of their season to date.They have lost eight of the 15 games since and Clarke has occasionally deployed two strikers in an attempt to turn their fortunes around.
The visitors have won their last two matches, at Liverpool and at home to Sunderland, have played 17 fewer games this season than Chelsea and are now back up to seventh. They will be well aware the hosts have won just three of our last eight Premier League games.
The European champions can enjoy the fact two rivals for third and fourth spot face each other this weekend, Arsenal (currently one point behind the Blues) travelling to White Hart Lane to play Spurs (two ahead) on Sunday afternoon.
Never the less Chelsea are the league's second highest scorers with 55 in 27 matches, 17 more than the Baggies.
Victor Moses's tap-in against Boro was his second in three FA Cup matches and his first since returning from success at the Africa Cup of Nations. Had he been away at, say, the European Championships, it would be unusual immediately to resume club duties, so credit to the Nigerian winger for his rapid recovery.
Nathan Aké, just 18 years old, who put in an accomplished performance on Teesside as a deep-lying midfielder, became Chelsea's third youngest overseas player to start a match.
Finland-born Mikael Forssell was aged 17 and 11 months on his full debut against Oxford United in February 1999, while Joel Kitamirike (born in Uganda) was just 17 years and six months old when named in the line-up against Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the UEFA Cup in October 2001.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Chelsea v West Brom 3pm
Everton v Reading 3pm
Manchester United v Norwich 3pm
Southampton v QPR 3pm
Stoke v West Ham 3pm
Sunderland v Fulham 3pm
Swansea v Newcastle 3pm
Wigan v Liverpool 5.30pm - ESPN
Tottenham v Arsenal 4pm - Sky Sports
Aston Villa v Manchester City 8pm - PldGdPts
|Barclays Premier League top eight|
The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 19
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 18
Bale (Tottenham) 15
Michu (Swansea) 15
Demba Ba (13 for Newcastle) 14
Race for the Premier League Golden Glove
Joe Hart (Manchester City) 12
Petr Cech 9
Asmir Begovic (Stoke) 9
Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) 9
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WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten home run against West Bromwich to 12 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.
Almost exactly a year later Albion visited in the league on a cold afternoon shrouded in a misty pall.
Chelsea were always the more decisive and creative on the day, with a midfield that hit the right balance between style and urgency. Mickey Thomas was left out in favour of promising homegrown Keith Jones and went home to Wales for the weekend. While Jones passed and supported, Pat Nevin consistently showed off his myriad skills while hard-working forward David Speedie delivered the coup des graces.
'That Nevin,' enthused Albion defender Jimmy Nichol afterwards. 'You think you've closed him down and then he's in at you again. And Speedie is so good.'
A typically sparkling Nevin run in the 17th minute set up Speedie for the Blues' first. The two Scots had taken time to click off the field but on it there was a wonderful understanding.
After the interval Speedie chipped for Doug Rougvie to score a rare header before hooking in the third to make it four goals in four games for him.
The Baggies' powerful striker Gary Thompson, battened down by centre-back Joe McLaughlin for most of the game, hit a consolation goal five minutes from the end. John Hollins' side won 3-1 and rose to sixth in Division One.
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 John Wile, Cyrille Regis and Tony Brown. Steve Wicks scored for Chelsea.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
1978/79 - West Brom won 3-1 - Division One
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
Reverse fixture this season
17 November 2012 Barclays Premier League
West Brom.……..……2 Chelsea………..……1
Long 9 Hazard 39
West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 128
Chelsea wins 53
Baggies wins 42
Head to head in the league at Stamford Bridge
Games played 56
Chelsea wins 28
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 Stamford Bridge against the Baggies: 8,827
West Brom won away: 19
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,841
Liverpool won the league: 8,336
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.