At first glance, the idea of a match between West Brom and Chelsea probably isn't going to send anyone in a fit of excitement. Take a second to ponder the state of things for both teams and suddenly this ugly duckling of a soccer match beings to have golden goose potential.
West Brom have quietly had themselves a superb start to the season collecting 20 points from 11 matches while sitting somewhat comfortable in a European spot. There's a long way to go of course, but Steve Clarke has done an excellent job building on the foundation left by now England manager Roy Hodgson. Nothing would make Clarke happier than to continue his side's solid form with a result against Chelsea, a team he both played for and served as an assistant coach with.
Chelsea are slumping a bit after roaring out of the gates early. Just a month ago, the Blues were four points clear at the top of the table. Now they're three points back of United in third place. Injuries have played their part but so has inconsistent play and a sputtering attack that has lost the poise it showed early in the season. It won't help that three of Roberto Di Matteo's best attacker, Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard, spent the week off playing international friendlies.
The Blues should have David Luiz back in the lineup after the defender missed out on the 1-1 draw with Liverpool with an illness, though his trip to the US for a Brazil friendly might have him fatigued.
West Brom injuries and suspensions
Chelsea injuries and suspensions
Gareth McAuley suffered a hamstring injury on international duty and will be a day-of decision for the Baggies. Goalkeeper Ben Foster is out after undergoing a groin operation and Lukaku is on loan form Chelsea and thus ineligible to play against his parent club. Mulumbu and Morrison should both be ready to go after skipping out on international duty during the week to recover. John Terry will be out for several weeks after his ugly collision last week and Frank Lampard is still not fully recovered from his calf injury. Ashley Cole is doubtful
Match Date/Time: 4 p.m. local, 10 a.m. ET
Venue: The Hawthornes, West Bromwich, England
TV: FOX Soccer (U.S.), Sportsnet World (Canada)
Online: FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.)