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CHELSEA v WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 2nd March 2013, 3pm
Stamford Bridge

MATCH NOTES

Albion have not recorded three league victories in a row over Chelsea since 1957.

Chelsea have won all six Premier League meetings between the two clubs at Stamford Bridge, scoring 17 goals and conceding just one.

The Baggies last played on March 2nd in 2004 when they played out a goalless draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road. The club's last victory on the date came in 2002 when a Danny Dichio goal helped Albion to a 1-0 win away at Wimbledon.

Jerome Thomas will make his 100th Albion appearance if he figures in the game.

Albion's last six games: Sunderland (H) 2-1; Liverpool (A) 1-0; Tottenham Hotspur (H) 0-1; Everton (A) 1-2; Aston Villa (H) 2-2; QPR (H FAC) 0-1

Chelsea's last six games: Middlesbrough (A FAC) 2-0; Manchester City (A) 0-2; Sparta Prague (H EL) 1-1; Brentford (H FAC) 4-0; Sparta Prague (A EL) 1-0; Wigan Ath. (H) 4-1

TEAM NEWS

Albion

Steve Clarke has named academy star Isaiah Brown in the squad and, at 16 years and 54 days, he could become the youngest-ever player to appear in the Premier League.

Shane Long faces a late test having picked up a knock against Sunderland last week but fellow striker Romelu Lukaku is ineligible to face his parent club.

Goran Popov will serve the final game of a three-match ban for his red card against Tottenham Hotspur whilst Zoltan Gera and George Thorne are both out with long-term injuries.

Squad from: Foster, Myhill, Daniels, Reid, Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Tamas, Ridgewell, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Morrison, Thomas, Long, Fortune, Odemwingie, Rosenberg, Sawyers, Brown.

Chelsea

Chelsea are expected to recall defenders Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta after they sat out the Blues' midweek FA Cup win at Middlesbrough.

Midfielder Yossi Benayoun is missing with an ankle injury whilst Oriol Romeu is also out due to his long-term knee injury.

Squad from: Cech, Turnbull, Hilario, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Cole, Bertrand, Luiz, Terry, Ake, Oscar, Mata, Moses, Mikel, Lampard, Ramires, Hazard, Marin, Torres, Ba.

QUOTES

Baggies' boss Steve Clarke:

We beat them earlier in the season and we played really well that day. We put on a good performance - one of our best of the season - it was a great win for us. But its a different game at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are a team full of talent and their home record by and large is very, very good. So, its a difficult place to go but were confident, were in a good place and weve managed back-to-back wins in the Premier League, which is never easy. We will go there looking to add to our points tally.

My connection with
Chelsea is a big part of my past. Twenty years out of nearly 50 is a big part of my life. But I want to win every week, I dont have any greater hunger to win at Stamford Bridge. I just want to win as many games as I can. Im a professional.

When you go to any of the bigger clubs, early on you have to stay in the game and thats what well focus on. The atmosphere, and whatever the Chelsea fans do or the media want to build up around it, is not a concern for us. We have to focus on what we do.

www.wba.co.uk

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez:

I have confidence we can win, the team was training really well, as they have since I've been here, so I'm really pleased with the reaction in terms of training sessions.

I was really pleased with the performance against Middlesbrough after changing eight players, that means I know what to do.

I'm positive we can carry on and finish in the top three or top two, we will see, but that's my feeling. Realistically it's not easy, Manchester City are a good team with good players. If they keep winning games it will be difficult, but you never know in football. Top two, top three and two trophies, it's very clear we have good chances.

It (the north London derby) could change things in terms of the perception, but it will go until the end. If you win you are far away but if you lose and the other team win it changes. We have to carry on until the end with confidence because we have a strong team.

We will try to do our best in every competition. West Brom are first, then we will try to progress in the Europa league and FA Cup.

www.chelseafc.com

MATCH ODDS

Result

Albion Win: 6/1, Chelsea Win: 4/9, Draw: 10/3.

First Goalscorer

Ba 4/1, Torres 9/2, Lampard 5/1, Mata 5/1, Hazard 7/1, Moses 8/1, Oscar 8/1, Long 10/1, Marin 12/1, Ramires 12/1, Odemwingie 12/1, Fortune 14/1, Rosenberg 14/1, Luiz 16/1, Morrison 16/1, Bertrand 18/1, Ivanovic 20/1, Brunt 20/1, Dorrans 20/1.

REFEREE

Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

Has refereed two Albion games this season - the 3-2 defeat at Reading in January, and the 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke City in December.

Friend took charge of two Albion games last season - the 4-0 defeat at Manchester City in April and the 2-2 draw at Bolton in May.

The Leicestershire official has refereed two Chelsea games this season - the 1-1 draw at Swansea City in November and the Blues' 3-2 defeat against Manchester City in the Community Shield at Villa Park in August.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets are no longer on sale to Albion fans.

WEATHER FORECAST

Partly cloudy but dry, 5C

FIXTURE HISTORY

The first ever league meeting of the two clubs came at Stamford Bridge in September 1905, just months after the London club had been formed. Albion lost that initial Division Two game 1-0 with Bob McRoberts scoring for the home side. The return game at The Hawthorns in January ended in a 1-1 draw, Jack Manners the Albion scorer.

Albion's best league victory over the Londoners is 5-2, a score achieved twice - away at Stamford Bridge in April 1929 when Tommy Glidden hit a hat-trick, and at The Hawthorns in October 1953 when the late, great Ronnie Allen notched a treble. Allen had a fantastic scoring record against the Blues, hitting 14 goals in 19 league games between the sides.

The Baggies also registered a 8-1 win in October 1945 at The Hawthorns in a Football League South meeting, Ike Clarke scoring four of the goals The game came just a week after the two clubs had shared 11 goals at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea coming out on top in that one 7-4.

Chelsea's best victory over Albion came at Stamford Bridge in December 1960 when five goals from the legendary Jimmy Greaves helped the Blues to a easy 7-1 victory.

Albion have an awful recent history against Chelsea, winning just two of the last 21 games, although those victories have come in the last two meetings. Before those wins, Albion had lost 13 games in a row against the Blues in all competitions.

Albion's last victory at Stamford Bridge came in November 1983 when Ron Wylie's men beat the Londoners 1-0 in a League Cup 3rd round match whilst the last league victory in West London came in September 1978, Albion running out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Cyrille Regis, John Wile and Tony Brown.

LAST LEAGUE MEETING AT STAMFORD BRIDGE

Chelsea 2-1 Albion
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 20 August 2011, 5:30pm

Chelsea: Hilario, Bosingwa, Alex (Ivanovic 66), Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Torres (Drogba 59), Kalou (Malouda 35). Subs not used: Turnbull, Benayoun, Ferreira, McEachran.

Goalscorers: Anelka 53, Malouda 83

Booked: Lampard 34 (foul), Terry 90 (unsporting behaviour)

Albion: Foster, Reid, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey, Scharner, Mulumbu (Dorrans 87), Brunt, Morrison, Long, Tchoyi (Odemwingie 75). Subs not used: Fulop, Cech, Jara Reyes, McAuley, Cox.

Goalscorer: Long 4

Booked: Tamas 7 (foul), Mulumbu 45 (foul), Olsson 60 (dissent), Odemwingie 90+2 (unsporting behaviour)

Attendance: 41,091

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Florent Malouda spared Andre Villas-Boas' blushes on his home debut as Chelsea manager with a late winner in today's Barclays Premier League game against West Brom. Malouda lost his place in the starting line-up but was brought on in the first half and came to the rescue by converting Jose Bosingwa's cross with seven minutes remaining. Villas-Boas had been heading for his first league defeat for more than 16 months when Shane Long continued his dream start to life at Albion by giving them a half-time lead but Nicolas Anelka equalised with a deflected shot before Malouda pounced. But Chelsea looked anything but title challengers and are in desperate need of the type of midfield inspiration the likes of transfer targets Luka Modric and Juan Mata would doubtless provide.

Today's game looked a home banker on paper, with Chelsea having beaten the Baggies in all 10 of their Premier League meetings and thrashing them 6-0 in last season's corresponding fixture. Villas-Boas, who did not lose in the league at Porto last season, gave a sheepish wave to his new supporters after taking his seat in the dugout but it took less than four minutes for reality to bite. Bosingwa's pass put Alex under needless pressure from Long, the striker robbing the defender before bearing down on Hilario, whose first task deputising for the injured Petr Cech was picking the ball out of the net. Chelsea were struggling to get in behind the visitors, who were having no such problem, with Paul Scharner testing Hilario from a tight angle. And it should have been 2-0 in the 25th minute, a brilliant Chris Brunt ball releasing Long, whose cross was too far in front of Somen Tchoyi. Frank Lampard was booked for an ugly lunge on Long 10 minutes before half-time, with Villas-Boas immediately abandoning Plan A by withdrawing Salomon Kalou for Malouda. It took until the 41st minute for Chelsea to truly threaten, Ashley Cole unleashing a rising drive towards the top corner, which was tipped behind by Ben Foster. The home fans screamed for a penalty two minutes later when Foster clattered into Anelka but referee Lee Mason felt the goalkeeper had got a bit of the ball. There was still time for Youssouf Mulumbu to be booked for bringing Fernando Torres near the edge of the box but Alex's free-kick deflected off John Obi Mikel and through to Foster.

There was little improvement from Chelsea at the start of the second half but a slice of luck helped them equalise in the 53rd minute. Lampard went down in the box laying the ball back to Anelka, who cut inside and unleashed a shot which took a telling deflection off the heel of Jonas Olsson and nestled in the far corner. The goal sparked the game to life, Scharner heading James Morrison's cross over the bar and Malouda seeing a half-volley blocked before Lampard played in Anelka, whose shot hit the legs of Foster and rebounded to Malouda, only for Steven Reid to throw his body at the ball. Torres, who was unable to repeat his encouraging performance of the previous week, was withdrawn for Didier Drogba just before the hour, with Olsson booked for dissent during the substitution. Tchoyi's left-foot 25-yard curler forced an acrobatic save from Hilario and an under-pressure Drogba steered Cole's cross wide before Villas-Boas made his final change when Branislav Ivanovic came on for Alex. Lampard and Anelka were linking up well, the latter hooking over under pressure before Drogba just failed to control a great ball from Ivanovic. West Brom threw on Peter Odemwingie for Tchoyi for the final 15 minutes but Chelsea were applying the pressure and Cole's low cross-cum-shot was blocked by Foster. There were more penalty cries when the ball hit the arm of Olsson, while Lampard lifted a half-volley over the bar. Anelka wasted a great breakaway chance with eight minutes left, steering the ball into the sidenetting from 35 yards after Foster had come racing off his line. It did not matter as the winner arrived a minute later, Bosingwa skipping too easily between Morrison and Nicky Shorey down the right and producing the ball of the match, swept home by Malouda at the far post. Graham Dorrans came on for Mulumbu for the final three minutes and the unmarked Odemwingie could easily have equalised a minute later, his volley too close to Hilario. The game ended with John Terry booked for a clash with Odemwingie, who was himself carded following a similar tussle with Cole.

Sporting Life

CURRENT CONNECTIONS

Baggies boss Steve Clarke spent 11 years as a player with Chelsea between 1987-98, making 421 appearances. He also spent four years coaching the Blues' first-team.

Chelsea's young Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku is currently on a season long loan at Albion.

PAST CONNECTIONS

Amongst the players to have turned out at various levels for both clubs are: Neil Clement, Shaun Cummings, Warren Cummings, Alan Dickens, Tony Godden, Derek Kevan, Paddy Mulligan, Frank Nouble, Fred Richardson, Graham Roberts, Fred Rouse, Frank Sinclair, David Speedie, Kenny Swain and Mickey Thomas.
  
Roberto Di Matteo managed both clubs having previously had a lengthy spell as a Chelsea player, whilst another former Blues' player Eddie Newton, was Di Matteo's assistant at both The Hawthorns and Stamford Bridge; Former
Albion manager Jack Smith was a player for Chelsea prior to the Second World War; World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst had a short spell as a player at The Hawthorns before later managing the London club; Ex-Albion player and manager Don Howe had a spell as Chelsea coach; Former Baggies' goalkeeper Bob Ward would later act as Chelsea physio; Former sprint champion Ade Mafe has acted as fitness coach for both clubs.

ALL-TIME LEAGUE & CUP RECORD VS CHELSEA

 VENUE P W D  L F A
 Home 63 25 16 22 102 75
 Away 63 17 16 30 83 125
 Neutral 2 0 1 1 1 5
 Total 128 42 33 53 186 205

LAST TEN MATCHES AGAINST CHELSEA

 DATE COMPETITION H/A F-A SCORERS  GATE
 Sat 17 Nov 2012 Premier League H 2-1 Long, Odemwingie - E Hazard  25,933
 Sat 03 Mar 2012 Premier League H 1-0 McAuley  24,838
 Sat 20 Aug 2011 Premier League A 1-2 Long - Anelka, Malouda  41,091
 Sat 16 Apr 2011 Premier League H 1-3 Odemwingie - Drogba, Kalou, Lampard  25,163
 Sat 14 Aug 2010 Premier League A 0-6 Malouda 2, Drogba 3, Lampard  41,589
 Fri 26 Dec 2008 Premier League A 0-2 Drogba, Lampard  41,090
 Sat 15 Nov 2008 Premier League H 0-3 Bosingwa, Anelka 2  26,322
 Sat 04 Mar 2006 Premier League H 1-2 Kanu - Drogba, J Cole  26,581
 Wed 24 Aug 2005 Premier League A 0-4 Lampard 2, J Cole, Drogba  41,201
 Tue 15 Mar 2005 Premier League A 0-1 Drogba  41,713
 
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