Chelsea will travel to the Hawthornes to face West Bromwich Albion knowing that a win could help them extend their lead at the top of the league. Although they are currently in the relegation zone, the Baggies were unlucky not to win the reverse fixture, when a last-minute Eden Hazard penalty saw the points shared in a 2-2 draw (per whoscored.com)
Jose Mourinho gave the Chelsea website an update on John Terry after the captain missed his first Premier League game of the season, the 3-0 victory over Newcastle:
It's not an injury, it's almost an injury. We had a decision to make and the player didn't play. We were aware Newcastle had bigger problems than us so we decided not to risk him and protect him. Hopefully he will be ready for Tuesday.
David Luiz provided perfectly adequate cover for Terry, and with the midweek Champions League fixtures returning later this month it would be foolish to rush the captain back. Gary Cahill will partner Luiz at centre-half, but there could be some changes in the full-back positions.
Branislav Ivanovic has scored one goal and assisted another in the last two fixtures but could sit this game out to allow Ashley Cole to start. If Mourinho does opt to start the Englishman, Cesar Azpilicueta will revert to his natural position at right-back.
Nemanja Matic’s strength and passing will be key to breaking down what is likely to be a defensive setup from West Brom and should start alongside Ramires in the pivot.
Eden Hazard is unlikely to miss this fixture after scoring his first hat-trick for Chelsea but could start in the middle of the attack after an impressive cameo from Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian winger was unlucky not to score on his debut after drawing a fine save from Tim Krul and will be itching to get back on the pitch. Willian’s tenacity and stamina should see him complete the trio.
Mourinho had some encouraging words on Fernando Torres’s fitness after the Newcastle game, telling the club website “By next week he'll be back. We will try for Tuesday but if not it will be next Saturday.”
Despite this positive news, Torres’s involvement will likely be limited to an appearance from the bench, as Samuel Eto’o’s ability to create space for himself and the other attackers will be invaluable against West Brom.
Mourinho showed no complacency when looking ahead to this match for the Chelsea website:
It's a difficult stadium and they have a fantastic crowd. They defend well and have physical players for attacking and defensive set-pieces. Their midfield is well organised and they have talent in attack. Gera is back, he wasn't in the team for a long time. We only have two days to rest but it's the same for both, only Arsenal have one day more. Arsenal played today and Manchester United play tomorrow, so they have 24 hours more but it happens.
With Arsenal facing Manchester United on Wednesday, Chelsea will want to make the most of this opportunity to consolidate their position as league leaders.
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