The new Premier League Champions visit the Hawthorns on Monday evening. The last time that happened was for Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game as Manchester United manager in 2013, and if Monday’s game is anything like that one, the fans and the Sky TV viewers will be in for a treat.
There has been a bit of a Pulis-Mourinho love-in in the media over the past few days with both managers extolling the virtues of the other, including Pulis expecting that Mourinho will take the Manager of the Year award that the Welshman himself won last year. Chelsea haven’t won at the Hawthorns on their last three visits, and after welcoming the visitors with a guard of honour, the Baggies players will be looking to extend that run.
Albion first met Chelsea in Division Two in September 1905 at Stamford Bridge. The hosts won that 1-0 with a goal from Bobby McRoberts. Chelsea had the Indian sign over the Baggies for a while and Albion didn’t taste victory over the West London club until their seventh meeting in 1912 – a 2-0 win at the Bridge – and Albion’s first win in the fixture at the Hawthorns wasn’t until April 1914, when a brace from Claude Jephcott and a goal from Arthur Swift gave the Baggies a 3-1 win.
Albion’s record win over Chelsea is 4-0, which they have achieved on six occasions, the first being the final game of their League Championship winning season of 1919-20. The Baggies celebrated the title in style with goals from Alf Bentley, Alfred Smith, Howard Gregory and Bobby McNeal.
The Baggies have once scored five goals against Chelsea, in a 5-2 win in 1953 when Ronnie Allen’s hat trick was added to by goals from George Lee and Johnny Nicholls. That game came midst of a remarkable run of games between the two sides when they met on nine occasions between the end of January 1953 and October 1954. The first four of those were in the fourth round of the FA Cup in 1953. After draws at the Bridge, the Hawthorns and Villa Park, Chelsea finally won the tie with a thumping 4-0 win in the third replay at Highbury. The following season, Chelsea were Albion’s first victims on their way to lifting the cup in 1954, with a 1-0 win at the Hawthorns thanks to an own goal by future England manager, Ron Greenwood.
The last of Albion’s 4-0 wins in the fixture came in April 1972 when Bobby Gould, Len Cantello and both of the Brown boys, Ally and Tony, were on the scoresheet. Ally Brown was on the scoresheet against Chelsea once again seven years later when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at the Hawthorns in 1979.
That was Albion’s last win over Chelsea before the advent of the Premier League. Just before the Baggies were relegated from Division One, the two sides met in the semi-final of the Full Members Cup in November 1985, the competition that the FA introduced that year for the top two divisions after English clubs were expelled from European competition following the Heysel Stadium disaster. The game finished 2-2 but Chelsea won 5-4 on penalties and went on to beat Man City in the final.
A few seasons later, both clubs found themselves in Division Two and vying for promotion. Chelsea had retained top spot on New Years’ Eve 1988 when an injury time Graham Roberts penalty salvaged a point at Stamford Bridge against Albion. The Baggies went top a few days later but their promotion challenge was faltering by the time that Chelsea visited the Hawthorns in April. Roberts scored another penalty followed by goals from David Lee and Kevin McAllister for Chelsea to win 3-2 – Colin Anderson and Tony Ford scored Albion’s goals. The west London club was promoted as champions while Albion finished 9th, and were relegated to Division Three two years later.
Between then and Albion’s promotion back to the top flight in 2002, the two sides met in the League Cup in 1993 (Chelsea winning 3-2 on aggregate over two legs) and then in the third round of the FA Cup in 1997 (3-0 to the Blues at the Bridge).
Chelsea won the first ten meetings in the Premier League before the Baggies recorded back-to-back wins at the Hawthorns, the first of which came in March 2012 when Gareth McAuley’s goal 8 minutes from time was enough to take all three points in what proved to be the last game of André Villas-Boas’s tenure as Chelsea’s manager.
Eight months later, former Baggies boss, Roberto di Matteo was at the helm when they returned to the Hawthorns, having remarkably won the Champions League in the meantime. But not only was it back-to-back victories, with Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie scoring to secure a 2-1 win, but it also proved to be di Matteo’s last Premier League game in charge of Chelsea – he was sacked after a 3-0 defeat to Juventus four days later.
On Monday, West Brom will be defending a three-match home unbeaten run against Chelsea after the 1-1 draw last season when Victor Anichebe’s late equaliser cancelled out Branislav Ivanovic’s goal in first half stoppage time. Chelsea’s last win at the Hawthorns was in April 2011 when Drogba, Kalou and Lampard all scored to overturn Odemwingie’s opening goal for Albion.
The Baggies are at full strength, apart from Ben Foster, but I don’t expect to see Stéphane Sessègnon in the squad after reportedly making his own way home from St James’s Park last weekend.
Reports suggest that Diego Costa may make his return to the Chelsea side having missed the past few weeks through injury and, after Mourinho gave youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek his debut against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge last weekend, it seems that Albion academy garduate, Isiah Brown, could get his chance at the Hawthorns. Petr Cech, Ramires, Oscar and Kurt Zouma will all miss the remainder of the season through injury.
With Albion safe and Chelsea champions, neither side has much to play for but I still expect a competitive game. Both sides are on unbeaten runs, although Chelsea’s run of 16 matches since defeat is somewhat more impressive than Albion’s 4! Without the need for points, I think Chelsea will be happy to settle for a draw and I can see both unbeaten runs continuing.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
22 Nov 2014 – Premier League
Chelsea 2 (Costa, Hazard)
West Brom 0
Last meeting at the Hawthorns
11 Feb 2014 – Premier League
West Brom 1 (Anichebe)
Chelsea 1 (Ivanovic)
17 Nov 2012 – Premier League
West Brom 2 (Long, Odemwingie)
Chelsea 1 (Hazard)
Albion’s Record against Chelsea
|Premier League Record|