Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion: 5 Reasons Blues Must Win at the Hawthorns
Andre Villas-Boas is still on thin ice, and he needs to start winning regularly. Chelsea are looking for good results every week, but they haven't lived up to that expectation in 2012.
With the upcoming schedule, the opponent and their biggest competitors playing well, Chelsea need this win badly. A loss or a draw could be devastating to Chelsea.
There are multiple reasons Chelsea need to win this match, and I have made a list of the five biggest reasons (in no particular order).
As always, feel free to let me know what you think about the reasons, or if you don't think this match is even that important.
Good Confidence Boost
Despite losing 12 matches so far, West Bromwich Albion are a solid squad.
They had an impressive campaign last year, but they've had trouble getting points on a weekly basis this year. With that said, they are arguably the best team in the bottom half of the table.
As you can see, they play the best teams well. They may have only gotten one point from these matches, but they probably deserved more. Accordingly, this could be the match they finally earn those points.
If Chelsea are able to defeat West Brom while going to The Hawthorns, it will be a great confidence boost for the rest of the week/month/season.
Arsenal Are in Great Form
Chelsea need to finish in the top four in the Premier League.
The club simply can't take the monetary hit of a year in the Europa League. Right now, Chelsea are tied with Arsenal on points and goal differential. Robin Van Persie has Arsenal playing well again, and the Gunners don't want to fall out of the top four again.
Chelsea need to keep pace with Arsenal, and when the Gunners drop points, Chelsea need to make a move up the table.
Arsenal travel to Anfield this week, which will be a tough place to earn three points. Therefore, if Chelsea win at West Brom, they could move into fourth place all alone.
Finishing in the top four is the most important goal left in the season for Chelsea. Winning this week would really help that happen.
Have a Good Start to Rough Stretch
Saturday's match against West Bromwich Albion starts a stretch of four games in 11 days for Chelsea.
They need to start that stretch off with a win.
Chelsea need to be in a run of good form heading into the FA Cup clash with Birmingham City and Champions League matchup with Napoli. If Chelsea don't perform well in those matches, they will be out of the competitions.
Chelsea certainly don't want that.
By beating West Brom, Chelsea put themselves in great position to keep their good form. Otherwise, they will have to rebound on short rest, which is never an easy thing.
Chelsea have had a divided dressing room all season, but that has slowly been changing.
Veterans like Petr Cech, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard have publicly displayed their feelings regarding Andre Villas-Boas, and the team has seemed to rally around each of the legends' comments.
Chelsea dismantled Bolton last week, and the Blues finally looked like a focused club. Now, they need to build off that win and keep the wins coming. The old adage "winning solves everything" definitely applies to Chelsea.
If they continue to win, the team will come together under Villas-Boas, and great things could happen. If they drop points this week, finger pointing could return to the locker room.
Chelsea don't want that.
Winning brings a team together. If Chelsea want to have continuity, they must win tough matches. West Brom will be a tough match.
By winning at The Hawthorns, Chelsea will help build their continuity, which will benefit them for the stretch run to finish this season on a high note.
Keep Andre Villas-Boas Safe
Chelsea live in a sad reality.
At this point, any slip up could result in the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.
I have made it clear that I don't agree with that philosophy, but it's how things are run. Villas-Boas has lasted this long, but no one can be sure how much longer he'll last.
West Bromwich Albion have won their last two matches with an aggregate score of 9-1. If Chelsea suffer an embarrassing defeat to Peter Odemwingie & Co., Villas-Boas probably won't be managing against Birmingham City.
If Chelsea want to save their manager (I sure hope they do), they need to win this match. It will give Chelsea two victories in a row, and it will relieve some pressure from Villas-Boas.
If Chelsea drop points in this match, Villas-Boas' future could be in extreme doubt.