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Venue: Stamford Bridge Date: Friday, 26 December.......Ok everyone, lets all take a close look at today's match-up at The Bridge. This blog is straight off of the BBC wire in London. Keeping it real so to speak. We're a point behind Liverpool right now and this match is one we really can't afford to lose. Looking forward to a tough outing at Stamford Bridge by the men in blue........

Chelsea will be without skipper John Terry who starts a three-game ban after his sending off against Everton.

Defender Ricardo Carvalho could return from injury for the home side.

West Brom skipper Jonathan Greening has been passed fit after being substituted during the victory over Manchester City with a bout of double vision.

Playmaker Borja Valero (flu) looks set to miss out for the second successive match while Felipe Teixeira is unlikely to have recovered from a calf injury.


 

Chelsea (from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Belletti, Alex, Ivanovic, Bridge, A Cole, J Cole, Ballack, Deco, Lampard, Obi, Kalou, Stoch, Anelka, Drogba.

West Brom (from): Carson, Kiely, Zuiverloon, Hoefkens, Olsson, Meite, Donk, Barnett, Robinson, Cech, Morrison, Greening, Koren, Do-Heon, Brunt, Dorrans, Valero, Moore, Bednar, Beattie.

West Brom manager Tony Mowbray on Chelsea being without their captain John Terry:
"If they could pick a game to be missing their captain this might have been the one they would have selected.

"Not too many teams go to Stamford Bridge and give their central defenders a lot of problems.

"I watched a game recently when they were at home and they had 31 shots and the opposition only had two.

"To lose their captain when they are playing the team who are bottom of the league - I don't think they will lose too much sleep over it."

BIG MATCH FACTS

A draw from this lunchtime clash with bottom-of-the table West Bromwich Albion would see Chelsea climb above Liverpool and back to the top of the table for two hours at least.

Albion face the Blues on Tony Mowbray's 800th day in charge, knowing that they will have to repeat their own record to survive. Bryan Robson's side in 2004-05 became the first and only club to be bottom at Christmas and avoid relegation from the Premier League. That season they were five points from safety at this same stage, this season they are four points below the trap door.

The Midlanders will be buoyed by Sunday's last ditch home win over Manchester City. Victory over the same club four seasons ago sparked a remarkable recovery during which 21 points were garnered from the last 15 games, resulting in survival.

Chelsea hold a 100% Premier League record against West Bromwich, and will look to beat them for the eighth successive time.

The Baggies have never won a Premier League match, nor picked up a single point, on Boxing Day, and travel to the Bridge on a six-game losing run away from home.

Chelsea have won 11 Premier League games so far this season; Albion have lost 11.

Chelsea have the strongest attack in the highest league (36 goals); Albion the weakest (14).

But Albion have won as many home league games as the Blues (three).

West Brom travel in search of their first top-flight win at Stamford Bridge in 30 years.

Distance between the clubs: 131 miles (211 kilometres)

CLUB FORM

CHELSEA

2nd 38 points
Highest achievable: 1st
Lowest could fall: 2nd

1. Failed to win four of the last five Premier League matches; drawn the last two.

2. Had 46 and 52 points at the half-way stage of their two title-winning campaigns; the best they can hope for this season is 41.

3. Already beaten all three promoted clubs; all on the road.

4. Won their last five Premier League matches against Midlands clubs.

5. Drawn the last two Boxing Day fixtures, and not lost any of the last four.

6. Not won a home match for three games since the 5-0 eclipse of Sunderland on 1 November; their worst home run since the start of the 2001-02 season.

7. Already dropped 14 home points, which equates to the total dropped at the Bridge during the whole of the 2007-08 season.

8. End the year away to Fulham on Sunday.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

20th 15 points
Highest realistically achievable: 19th
Lowest could fall: 20th

1. Last Sunday's victory ended a 10-match winless run.

2. Failed to score in eight of their 18 league games, and not kept a clean sheet in 11.

3. Scored in excess of a single goal in just three of their 18 league outings, including the most recent; 2-1 against Manchester City.

4. Lost seven of 10 matches against top-half clubs.

5. Lost their last 10 Premier League games against 'Big Four' clubs, since defeating Arsenal 2-1 at home on 15 October 2005.

6. Lost their last four top-flight matches in London, and not won a Premier League trip to the capital since a 1-4 triumph over Charlton on 19 March 2005.

7. End the year, home to Tottenham on Sunday.

KEY PLAYER NOTES

CHELSEA:

Jose BOSINGWA, Frank LAMPARD and John TERRY are the only remaining players to have started all of Chelsea's Premier League matches this season.

Nicolas ANELKA is the top-scoring Premier League player with 16 club goals in all competitions, and is leading the race for the Barclays Golden Boot with 14 Premier League goals.

The Frenchman is the only player, whose Premier League goals total for the season is in double figures. His personal tally of league goals matches West Brom's entire total for the season.

Petr CECH is level with Liverpool's Jose REINA in the race for the Barclays Golden Glove. They have kept 10 clean sheets a piece.

If selected:-

ASHLEY COLE will be making his 100th appearance in a Chelsea shirt.

If on the field from the outset:-

Frank LAMPARD will be making his 400th career league start (West Ham, Swansea and Chelsea).

Suspended:-

John TERRY (three matches)

WEST BROMWICH ALBION:

Scott CARSON and Paul ROBINSON are the only remaining players to have been on the field for every minute of every one of West Brom's Premier League matches this season.

If selected:-

LUKE MOORE will be making his 100th career Premier League appearance (all in Villa colours). MOORE scored for the first time for Albion in 23 attempts in league and cup, against Manchester City on Sunday,

Ishmael MILLER will be making his 50th league appearance for West Brom.

HEAD TO HEAD-

West Brom have picked up just one point in six visits to Stamford Bridge since beating them 1-3 on 30 September 1978, when Cyrille Regis, John Wile and Tony Brown were all on the scoresheet. West Brom finished that season in third; Chelsea were bottom.

Chelsea sealed a record 10th consecutive away Premier League win, when they won the reverse fixture last month. The top versus bottom match was as one-sided as the 0-3 result suggests.

The Blues are now on course for a fourth consecutive 'double' over the Baggies.

Home and away
League (inc PL): Chelsea 45 wins, WBA 35, Draws 27
Prem: Chelsea 7 wins, WBA 0, Draws 0

at Chelsea only
League (inc PL): Chelsea 25 wins, WBA 14, Draws 14
Prem: Chelsea 3 wins, WBA 0, Draws 0

LAST MEETING BETWEEN THESE TWO CLUBS.....

West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Chelsea
15 November 2008 - Ref: Steve Bennett
Chelsea scorers: Bosingwa 34, Anelka 38, 45

Scolari puts his faith in Chelsea spirit afp 2008-12-25

Chelsea's manager Luiz Felipe Scolari shouts instructions to captain John Terry during their Barclays Premiership football match against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London, on December 14. Scolari has responded defiantly to Chelsea's latest disappointment but knows his side cannot afford another setback when they begin their Christmas programme against West Bromwich Albion.

 

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