Chelsea v West Brom Team News
Chelsea begin the defence of their Barclays Premier League title against newly promoted West Brom at Stamford Bridge at 5.45pm with online bookmakers offering cash back specials and free bets to new customers.
The stats for this game make painful reading for Albion fans, their team has not scored a league goal here since 1998 and only a handful will be able to remember their last victory at Stamford Bridge on September 1978.
Surely the bookies cannot have called this wrong; high scores to nil are the flavour and Blue Square’s odds of 18/1 for Chelsea to win 5-0 will prove popular.
Home fans will welcome the return of Michael Essien who has been likened to a £30million new transfer after missing most of last season with injury.
Hard man Branislav Ivanovic will partner John Terry in the heart of the defence with Alex nursing a thigh injury and the departure of Ricardo Carvalho to be re-united with Jose Mourinho in Madrid.
Keeper Petr Cech (calf) and Frank Lappard (ankle) are expected to have recovered in time to play today.
Up front Didier Drogba will be looking to start the season as he finished last when notching a hat-trick in the 8-0 win over Wigan that sealed the championship for the club and the Golden Boot for the club’s number one striker.
Blue Square are offering odds of 14/1 for Drogba to score another hat-trick today.
Baggies midfielder Graham Dorrans has been having treatment for groin strain and missed the midweek trip to Sweden with the Scotland squad, he’s responded well enough to return to full training.
Manager Di Mattio will hand a debut to full back Nick Shorey but central defender Pablo Ibanez may have to wait to recover fully from a hamstring injury.
Di Mattio will play with a lone striker preferring Ishmael miller to Roman Bednar who will warm the bench.
Probable starting line ups:
CHELSEA: Cech, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Kalou, Anelka, Drogba.
WEST BROM: Carson, Jara, Olsson, Tamas, Shorey, Mulumbu, Brunt, Morrison, Dorrans, Thomas, Miller.