Its time to return to winning ways for the men in blue as West Brom welcome them on Saturday. With a record of 18 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss for Chelsea against the Hawthorns, 3 points are up for grabs.
This should be West Brom’s probable lineup with movement –
Now the first thing we shall look at are the midfielders. In midfield, West Brom have a pivot just like Chelsea with Mulumbu and Yacob holding it firmly. Mulumbu goes forward to attack whereas Yacob usually sits back and defends. Brunt and Morrison are wingers, natural typical English wingers who can cut inside as well as push forward at the flanks to create more opportunities.
Then there are the defenders. Olsson was linked to a move to Chelsea before AVB initiated a 8 million bid on Gary Cahill. He along with McAuley are a solid pair. Jones and Ridgewell are carbon copies of Cole and Ivanovic. Bursting forward with pace, they provide another option of banging in crosses
The forwards are tricky to predict but I’ll go with Odemwingie and Long. Lukaku will not be able to play against his parent club thanks to the rules set by FA.
FA V.7.2. during period of Temporary Transfer of contract registration a Player shall not play against Transferor Club.
Odemwingie and Long on paper look like 2 strikers up front which changes the formation to 4-4-2, but in reality it is 4-2-3-1 , exactly the same as Chelsea’s. This happens because one of the strikers drops deep, either Odemwingie or Long. This makes the second striker get the no.10 role while Brunt and Morrison cut inside to complete the trio behind the lone striker.
West Bromwich Albion’s main play comes from counter-attacks and they are very efficient at it. This is the part where I’m really scared for Di Matteo and his tactical approach. The wingers and full-backs will most definitely exploit the fullbacks and this can cause a huge problem for Chelsea.
Take a situation like this –
Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic [who I expect to start] are just recovering from an attack and getting back into space.
The white arrows depict Cole and Ivanovic returning back. I have not shown the pivot players and the 2 center backs to avoid over crowding. Seeing them play against Southampton, literally sent shivers down my spine as the possibility of them having so many chances at goal encroached my mind.
Brunt and Morrison will form the crux of the counter-attack as they can move to the flanks as well as cut in as two center forwards. The versatility of the team helps Long and Odemwingie to drift sideways when needed as well. Mulumbu will be a part of the AMF role as the full-backs intelligently push behind their opposite full-backs.
Pace is another thing Chelsea will have to deal with. The boys upfront can get in behind the defenders and if that happens you will want a calm and composed finish from Long or Odemwingie.
Sherry Philips (@bluebloodSherry), Deputy Editor