Chelsea v West Brom: Match preview

Next Story

Key defenders Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta are again available for Chelsea after missing the Blues 2-0 FA Cup win over Middlesbrough in midweek. England international Cahill has recovered from a virus, while Azpilicueta has overcome a leg injury.

However, Yossi Benayoun has been ruled out with an ankle problem. The Israeli midfielder started on Wednesday, but was substituted after 59 minutes.

Meanwhile, West Brom could be without their two first-choice strikers. Romelu Lukaku will definitely not feature as he is ineligible to face his parent club, while Irishman Shane Long could miss out with an ankle injury sustained against Sunderland.

And the Baggies could make Premier League history if midfielder Isaiah Brown makes his debut. The England under-17 international is to travel with the squad to London and will become the competition's youngest ever player at 16 years and 54 days if he plays. The record is currently held by Fulham''s Matthew Briggs.


Clarke: Focus is on survival not Europe


West Brom coach Steve Clarke has played down talks of the Baggies reaching Europe ahead of his return to Chelsea.

Clarke, formerly a coach at Stamford Bridge, has said qualification for the Europa League is not being considered by his squad despite returning to form with victories over Sunderland and Liverpool in the their last two league games.

Clarke spoke of his focus on making sure West Brom's Premier League status is definitely secure for next season, despite their current position of seventh.

He said: "Forty points before the end of February is good. I was a bit disappointed we didn't reach 40 points before that because we had put ourselves in a great position.

"But we are there now. Are we safe? I don't know. By and large, if you look over the course of the Premier League history, 40 points is usually safe - but not always.

"I think it is better we look at the next few games coming up and try and add a few more points to the tally.

"I'm not sure the European spot is there. It only goes down to fifth in the league and at this stage of the season we're a little bit away from that.

"It's not something we will rule out because we're going to try to get as many points as we can between now and the end of the season."

West Bromwich Albion
Premier League
Next Story

Read more