Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion preview: Antonio Conte looking for response
Last Updated: 12/02/18 8:47pm
Antonio Conte is aiming to avoid losing three consecutive games for the first time in nine years as West Brom visit Chelsea on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm.
Chelsea were humbled 4-1 at Watford on Monday and head into the game with questions surrounding Conte's future at the club.
Olivier Giroud is in line for a first start since his Deadline Day move from Arsenal, but fellow arrival Emerson may have to wait for his debut, having started only one game all season due to injury.
Conte will be relieved to have an unblemished record in three meetings against the Baggies since he took over at Chelsea, winning all three of their previous games without conceding.
Their 4-0 victory at The Hawthorns in November was followed by the sacking of Tony Pulis two days later. However, West Brom's form has barely improved since then, and they have won the fewest (three) games of any side in the league.
West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez has been charged by the FA for alleged racial abuse of Gaetan Bong during West Brom's match against Brighton on January 13.
Rodriguez denies the allegations, and is available to face Chelsea if called upon.
Chelsea will be without suspended midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko for Monday's Premier League meeting with West Brom.
The France international serves a one-game ban following his dismissal at Watford.
Striker Olivier Giroud could make his first start since moving from Arsenal, but centre-back Andreas Christensen (hamstring) faces a late fitness test and forward Alvaro Morata (back) remains sidelined.
Jay Rodriguez is available for selection for West Brom's trip to Chelsea on Monday despite being charged by the Football Association following his clash with Gaetan Bong.
The striker will still be picked by boss Alan Pardew despite being charged with alleged racial abuse of the Brighton defender, something the England international denies.
Jonny Evans (back), Kieran Gibbs (hamstring), Grzegorz Krychowiak (leg) are available but Jake Livermore (hamstring) James Morrison (Achilles) and Nacer Chadli (hip) are out.
- Chelsea have won all three Premier League meetings against West Brom under Antonio Conte without conceding a single goal.
- West Brom haven't beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in any of their last 16 visits in all competitions (D3 L13), since winning 1-0 in the League Cup in November 1983 under Ron Wylie.
- The Blues have lost consecutive league games by a margin of three or more goals for the first time since October 1995 (1-4 vs Man Utd, 0-3 vs Blackburn) - they've never previously lost three in a row by such a margin in the top-flight.
- West Bromwich Albion have lost more points from leading positions than any other Premier League side this season (18).
- Antonio Conte hasn't lost three consecutive league games as manager since November 2009, when he was with Atalanta in Serie A.
Chelsea need to win, they just need to win. That's what it has come to now. You looked at the Bournemouth and Watford games and thought there are six points to cement the top four and concentrate on Barcelona in the Champions League.
Now you've got fixtures of Barca, Man Utd, Man City, Barca after West Brom - it could all go Pete Tong very quickly. If they don't win, you don't see how they're going to finish in the top four with the games coming up.
Alan Pardew is going to put 10 behind the ball, and keep it very tight for 20 minutes and hope the fans get restless. They'll look at what Bournemouth did, but without the same pace on the counter-attack I don't see how they can hurt Chelsea.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (7/1 with SkyBet)
Chelsea are just 4/11 with Sky Bet to get back to winning ways, with relegation favourites West Brom 15/2 for the victory while the draw is priced at 18/5.
Giroud is considered the hosts' main threat at 5/2 ahead of Alvaro Morata (11/4) and Eden Hazard (3/1), while Daniel Sturridge, Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez are all 11/1 shots to break the deadlock.