Chelsea are top of the Premier League. Sounds right when Mourinho is at the helm. All that stands between them and an extended stay there through the break for the FA Cup are West Brom.
Taking Chelsea first, all this chat about little horses is rubbish. We know that, you know that, the media knows that, everyone knows. What we also know is, Mourinho is the master of deflecting the pressure and limelight away from the players and on to himself. Some of that could be vanity, but a greater part is the siege mentality that it creates, it’s them against us.
We’re not talking about Chelsea’s chronic lack of strikers. We’re not talking about the huge player outlay in the summer. We’re talking about Mourinho, and from these positions, he normally picks up the title at the end of the season.
Chelsea are the form team in the league, and while they can’t match the scoring exploits of Manchester City or Liverpool, no one matches their defence. Newcastle were swept away at the weekend by the guile and skill of Hazard, but attacking performances are built on defensive stability. It’s a lesson Manchester City might need to heed if they are to pick themselves up and challenge again before the end of the season.
Before the Newcastle match Mourinho had singled hazard out as one of the best young players in the world, and off the back of that hat-trick performance it was hard to argue.
Last time these two met, a late and disputed (or really soft depending on where your allegiances lie) penalty was required to get Chelsea a point in a two all draw. Had Hazard not slotted in that penalty, Clarke might still have been in his job.
New boy Pel hasn’t had the effect West Brom would’ve liked on results since he came in. The slide is yet to be arrested and after the defeat to Palace at the weekend they find themselves in the bottom three for the first time since September.
Palace themselves seemed dead and buried not so long ago, trading at 1.08 to be relegated. Things change, but do West Brom have the fight or the skill to get out of their mire?
Goals are where they’re really struggling, Berahino is top scorer with four. While the other teams around the bottom have picked up wins and points, West Brom (and indeed Cardiff and Fulham completing the bottom three) have really struggled in 2014.
Next in the league will be Fulham at home, which is a real relegation six pointer. But as Fulham showed against Manchester Utd, and Norwich showed against Manchester City, no team is invincible, any team in this league can frustrate any other. That means that although no one will expect them to get anything, if they put a real shift in, they might just cause an upset and get a valuable point on the board.
And just so you know, Chelsea have been beaten on their last two visits to the Hawthorns, so West Brom are certainly not without hope.
In terms of the odds for this match, unsuprsingly Chelsea are the clear favourites best priced at 8/15 with Ladbrokes. West Brom can be backed at 7/1 with William Hill, and the draw is available at 10/3 with Matchbook (and qualifies for their 0% commission as well).
First goal scorers are dominated by Chelsea, but given the way the goals have been spread through the team this season if you’re not on Hazard at 6/1 with Bet Victor, then perhaps a cheeky Matic bet at 20/1 with Coral would work.
Are there any moneyback specials on this match? Of course there are, we’ve listed a selection of them below.
- WillHill bore draw money back
- Winner are offering refunds on matches where they're won from losing positions
If you want to join the discussion, then come and join the forum and also get access to the Today’s Offers page where we’ll have the bookmaker specials for all the Premier League matches.