16 min “I remember when Chelsea last kept a clean sheet in the league,” says Stephen Carr. “The year was 19-odd-six and I was wearing an onion on my belt – which was the style at the time…”
15 min: Werner hits the bar! It’s coming. Mount breaks into space down the right and clips a sharp cross towards Werner, whose cushioned volley clatters off the top of the bar.
12 min: Abraham misses a great chance! Chelsea should be level. James, on the right, curls a wonderful cross into the corridor of uncertainty. It bounces up towards Abraham at the far post, but he slices it wide from six yards. Although the bounce was slightly awkward, Abraham should have scored.
10 min A good strike from Havertz, 20 yards from goal, is pushed away by the diving Johnstone. It was a comfortable save, but that’s a sign of Havertz’s increasing confidence.
10 min Chelsea were having most of the ball even before West Brom scored. The goal has made them even more dominant, with West Brom playing on the break.
9 min “Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “I’m sitting at home with a glass of beer and a pretzel, Field Music’s Measure on the turntable, my team Dundee United having secured a solid point away from home, the last of the late September sunshine still drifting in through the window before the milky twilight descends. It doesn’t feel like the end of days, though I’m sure Romulus Augustus thought the same in 476. And he didn’t have VAR to worry about either.”
6 min Chelsea win a free-kick 25 yards out, slightly to the left of centre. Mount, Alonso and James are over the ball…
That was West Brom’s first attack. Alonso’s loose header was picked up by Pereira, who moved into space and slid an angled pass to Robinson on the edge of the area. He shifted it onto his left foot and hit a rasping drive that went through the legs of James, beat Caballero’s dive and nestled in the far corner.
GOAL! West Brom 1-0 Chelsea (Robinson 4)
Callum Robinson gives West Brom the lead with a cracking goal!
2 min Chelsea have set up as expected: 4-2-3-1, with Havertz behind Abraham. Werner is roaming from the left.
I forgot to say that Thiago Silva captains Chelsea on his Premier League debut. The club captain, Cesar Azpilicueta, is on the bench.
“Evening Rob,” says Matt Turland. “This season has had an absolute abundance of goals and today’s games have already kept up the goalfest. It may be tempting fate but this game is going to have goals in it, isn’t it? I mean, two suspect defences, two attacking ‘philosophies’ and a complete disregard for anything approaching tactics means it has to have goals.”
The goalless draw is in danger of becoming extinct.
“I see you have Christensen in the starting eleven,” says Lasse Espe. “Didn’t he earn a suspension after getting sent off against Liverpool?”
Yep – he served it during the Carabao Cup game in midweek.
Everton are top of the Premier League. They beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park to continue their great start, though the winning goal came from another debatable penalty.
Willy Caballero replaces poor Kepa in goal. Thiago Silva makes his Premier League debut and Tammy Abraham also starts. West Brom make one change from the team that lost at Goodison last weekend: Conor Townsend replaces the suspended Kieran Gibbs.
West Brom (3-4-2-1) Johnstone; Ajayi, Bartley, O’Shea; Furlong, Livermore, Sawyers, Townsend; Pereira, Diangana; Robinson.
Substitutes: Button, Kipre, Phillips, Harper, Field, Robson-Kanu, Edwards.
Chelsea (possible 4-2-3-1) Caballero; James, Christensen, Silva, Alonso; Kante, Kovacic; Mount, Havertz, Werner; Abraham.
Substitutes: Kepa, Tomori, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Barkley, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi.
Referee Jon Moss.
Hello. It’s not just students who have had their buzz harshed by Covid-19 restrictions. Promoted teams rely on their home form to establish themselves in the Premier League, so the absence of crowds – rabid, newly promoted crowds at that – is likely to impact their chances of survival.
Under normal circumstances the Hawthorns would be boinging for the visit of Chelsea. Without home support, the players will have to generate their own defiance. We’re only two games into a long season, but West Brom need a decent result as a matter of urgency. They lost those games 3-0 and 5-2, although they did play well at Everton until Kieran Gibbs got himself sent off just before half-time. It does get a bit easier after today, at least in theory: their next four games are against Southampton, Burnley, Brighton and Fulham.
Mind you, this isn’t the worst time to play Chelsea. They have the usual problems in goal, and Frank Lampard is still bedding in his various summer signings. The latest, the Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy, is unlikely to play, but Thiago Silva could make his Premier League debut. Kai Havertz, who made himself at home with a hat-trick against Barnsley in the week, will surely start.
Kick off 5.30pm.