West Brom v Chelsea preview
Baggies and Blues lock horns at The Hawthorns
Last Updated: 02/03/12 11:17am
West Brom know a positive result is likely to see them end the weekend in the top half of the table, while Chelsea are eyeing a return to the top four.
The Baggies are closing in on the 40-point mark which all but guarantees Premier League safety.
They will be keen to hit that target as soon as possible and will be determined to make the most of home advantage this weekend.
Roy Hodgson's side have been in decent form of late and will be looking to secure a third successive top flight victory for only the second time - with almost a decade having passed since they last collected nine points in a row.
West Brom's record against Chelsea makes for grim reading, though, and they will be aware that they tend to struggle against the capital giants.
The Blues have won 18 and lost none of the last 20 meetings between the two clubs in all competitions.
They have also collected maximum points from their 11 previous meetings in the Premier League.
Didier Drogba tends to enjoy himself against the Baggies, netting eight times in as many outings, and he will be looking to notch his 100th Premier League goal this weekend.
Frank Lampard will also be hoping to reach a notable milestone at The Hawthorns, with the midfielder one goal short of 150 in the English top flight.
Both men were on target in Chelsea's last outing, a 3-0 victory over Bolton, but the Blues have won only three of their last 11 games in the league to slip out of the UEFA Champions League places.
Winger Jerome Thomas is West Brom's latest fitness doubt after suffering a hamstring injury during their 4-0 win over Sunderland.
Skipper Chris Brunt has returned to training after a two-month lay-off with a broken foot but Baggies boss Hodgson is weighing up whether he is ready to return to action.
Fellow midfielder Paul Scharner is making good progress with his rib injury but, even if available, is only likely to be among the substitutes after the demolition of the Black Cats.
Chelsea are sweating on the fitness of Daniel Sturridge following the midweek round of international fixtures.
The England forward suffered a toe injury during a friendly clash with Holland and is yet to be ruled in or out, while Drogba was forced to sit out the Ivory Coast's latest outing after sustaining a knee problem.
The Blues are hoping the pair will be in contention for their trip to the Midlands, but Jose Bosingwa (hamstring) and captain John Terry (knee) definitely miss out.
Possible starting XIs
West Brom: Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Andrews, Mulumbu, Morrison, Odemwingie, Fortune, Brunt.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Lampard, Essien, Ramires, Meireles, Drogba, Mata.
Barclays Premier League
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