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Saturday, 02 March 2013

Chelsea v West Brom: Will a West Brom win be the end for Benitez?


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West Brom victories over Chelsea in recent seasons have resulted in a changing of the guard at Stamford Bridge. The Baggies have disposed of Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo in their past two clashes with champions of Europe. Some Chelsea fans will be praying the visitors can make it a hat-trick this afternoon to see the end of the raving Rafa Benitez.

The Spaniard went mad in midweek at Middlesbrough during a press conference where he criticised the fans and the board and I'm sure he'll be expecting a hotter reception than normal when he walks out this afternoon. With Arsenal and Spurs playing tomorrow, the Blues have the chance to reclaim third place. Blow it and Benitez could be making his final bow as Chelsea boss.

West Brom have emerged from their dreadful run of form to record back-to-back league wins over Liverpool and Sunderland. Today they go in search of their first league win at the Bridge in 35 years, but will be without their star striker, Chelsea's on-loan marksman Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea have the second best home defence in the top flight while Albion have the poorest return in terms of goals and the worst defence in the top eight. Only Manchester United and QPR have beaten Chelsea at home this season so this looks like a home win, but you can't write off the Baggies. They are a much better team than the side that used to turn up and get their behinds spanked regularly.

Steve Clarke's men could frustrate the Blues, forcing the home fans to turn up the volume against Benitez which could filter through to the players and allow West Brom to steal the points.

After losing to Man City last weekend Chelsea desperately need a return to winning ways, but can they get past the Baggies? Here is what our pundits think.

Chelsea v West Brom; Kick Off 3pm March 2 2013

Prediction Panel

Arsenal

Josh Ben Moshe

0

V

0

Aston Villa

Frank Pattison

2

V

0

Chelsea

Apoorva Ankur

TBA

V

TBA

Everton

Chris Goodwin

2

V

2

Fulham

Neil Springate

3

V

1

Liverpool

Dave Disciascio

1

V

1

Man City

Callum Rothwell

3

V

0

Man United

Peter Johnstone

2

V

3

Newcastle

Greg Hall

2

V

2

Norwich

Sue Read

2

V

1

QPR

John Jaycock

TBA

V

TBA

Reading

Jon Keen

2

V

2

Southampton

Andy Saunders

2

V

3

Stoke City

Peter Holland

2

V

2

Sunderland

Tony Ratton

3

V

1

Swansea

Jim Barry

1

V

1

Spurs

Adam Crawford

TBA    

V

TBA

West Brom

Andy Wakeman

1

V

3

West Ham

Matt Beeby

2

V

1

Wigan

Jimmy Shine

1

V

1

 

 

 

 

 

OUR EXPERTS

 

 

 

 

Writer

Colin Illingworth

3

V

1

Writer

Steve Coulter

3

V

0

Writer

Hugh Larkin

2

V

1

Writer

Mitch Waddon

3

V

1

Writer

Chris Pettitt

2

V

1

Writer

Sarshar Hosseinnia    

3

V    

1

Blackburn fan

Terry Kennedy

2

V

1

Bolton fan

David Blackburn

2

V

0

Boro fan

Sue Gardener

2

V

0

Pompey fan

Dan Taylor

1

V

1

Pompey fan

Peter Rendle

2

V

1

West Ham fan

Nigel Telfer

2

V

0

Wolves fan

Chris Cox

3

V

0

Editor

Antony Melvin

2

V

1

Panel Verdict

Home win.

Home: 19; Draw: 9; Away: 3. TBA 3.

* Do we have it right or do you know better? We’d love to hear from you.

 

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Colin Illingworth

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