Chelsea v West Brom: Villas-Boas desperate to start well at home
West Brom started Premier League life last season with a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but on the strength of last week’s performance will be going into the match with hopes of causing an upset.
The Blues began last season in blistering form at home scoring 16 goals in their first five Premier League home fixtures and will be looking to do the same this season, making them 1/4 favourites for the win here.
The burden of matching last season’s goalscoring start will fall on Fernando Torres, who currently has only one goal in 15 Premier League appearances, although the Spaniard did show an improvement in form during last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Stoke.
Chelsea have problems at the back with Petr Cech ruled out for four weeks with a knee injury sustained in training, meaning Andres Villas-Boas must choose between Henrique Hilario and Ross Turnbull.
Hilario made one appearance for Chelsea last season, in the Community Shield, conceding three goals, whereas Turnbull appeared twice and was unable to keep a clean sheet in both games, conceding four at home to Newcastle in the Carling Cup.
West Brom may have started the season with a 2-1 loss at home to Manchester United, but manager Roy Hodgson will be pleased with the performance shown at the Hawthorns.
In particular, Shane Long was able to get on the score sheet on his debut for the club, but to win at Stamford Bridge at 11/1 is an extremely difficult task, despite the improvement made under Hodgson.
Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres are both favourites to open the scoring at 3/1, and with Drogba grabbing a hat-trick in this fixture last season this may look like a decent bet.
However, with Villas-Boas reluctant to pair Drogba and Torres together and with the Spaniard likely to get the nod, we think the smart money is on Frank Lampard at 9/2.
For those punters expecting the Baggies to test the Chelsea goalkeeper much in the way they put David de Gea under pressure last weekend, an outside bet of Shane Long at 11/1 may be worth a punt.