Chelsea-West Brom Preview
Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell could feature for Chelsea against West Bromwich Albion, though Frank Lampard, who also offered an update on Christian Pulisic, is going to be cautious with the defensive duo.
Silva played an hour in Chelsea's 6-0 thrashing of Barnsley in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, while Chilwell came on as substitute after recovering from injury.
It was the first time the pair – signed from Paris Saint-Germain and Leicester City, respectively – have featured for Chelsea, though Lampard is unsure if they will start on Saturday.
"I believe they are fit enough to start, but I do also have to take into consideration the fact that we play another game with a pretty tight turnaround on Tuesday, then another on Sunday, and then the international players will maybe go and play three games for their country, so I'm managing that one," he told reporters. "I'll make those calls. But they're in a good place at the moment."
Lampard also confirmed that Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech had returned to training, though neither will play against West Brom.
"No, Christian isn't ready for the squad, nor is Hakim Ziyech, but they're both training with us now, which is good news," he said. "We hope to have them with us in proper match contention over the next week or two."
Slaven Bilic was sent to the stands during the Baggies' defeat to Everton last week, though he will be on the touchline on Saturday, and the former West Ham boss has been impressed by Lampard's start as a manager.
"I think he has a massive future ahead of him. Even now, when they're trying to make Chelsea straightaway title contenders, how he is dealing with the media shows not only his determination, but also how ready he is for these big challenges," Bilic said.
West Brom – Branislav Ivanovic
Bilic brought in free agent Ivanovic on a one-year deal to strengthen West Brom's defence and add some experience. He was given some playing time in the EFL Cup in midweek and could make his second Premier League debut against Chelsea, for whom he appeared 261 times for in the competition and won the title three times.
Chelsea – Kai Havertz
Havertz underwhelmed in his first two outings for Chelsea but got off the mark in English football in style against Barnsley, scoring a hat-trick. Only Robert Lewandowski (35), Lionel Messi (32) and Cristiano Ronaldo (31) have been involved in more goals in all competitions in 2020 than the 21-year-old.
• West Brom have lost more Premier League games against Chelsea (18) than they have against any other opponent, including each of their last four in a row without scoring a single goal.
• Chelsea have won each of their last three away league games at West Brom; they have beaten them in four or more consecutive such outings twice previously – eight in a row from April 1985 to April 2011 and five between December 1964 and March 1969.
• However, the Blues have kept just one clean sheet in their 20 Premier League away games under Lampard, winning 2-0 at Spurs in December 2019.
• Lampard has won both of his previous meetings with West Brom as a manager.
• Matheus Pereira has had a hand in both of West Brom's Premier League goals this season (one goal, one assist). Indeed, since the start of last season he's had a hand in 26 league goals for the Baggies (nine goals, 17 assists), 11 more than any other player at the club.
Updated September 25, 2020