A Look At Premier League Opposition – West Bromwich Albion FC

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Updated: July 30, 2014

A new Premier League season is just round the corners. We at Chelsea Index are very excited and we’re sure you are too, so we decided to do a big preview series in the buildup to the first day of the season. Each day, we will be taking a closer look at one or two clubs that Chelsea will play in 2014/15 EPL season.

Let us begin with West Bromwich Albion FC, the club which finished just above the relegation zone last season. West Brom had a troubled season as they struggled to keep up. The Baggies started the season under Steve Clarke, were caretaken by Keith Downing and finished with Pepe Mel as their manager.

West Brom managed to win just 7 games in the entire season, drawing another 15. Among the 15 drawn games the Baggies played, Chelsea featured twice. During the December encounter at Stamford Bridge, West Brom were minutes away from a 2-1 win which would have broken Jose’s unbeaten Premier League home record, only for Eden Hazard to equalize through a penalty in the stoppage time. At the Hawthorns, in February, Chelsea conceded a late goal to play out a 1-1 result.

The West Midlands club has done some relatively promising business this summer. Former Blackburn Rovers winger Alan Irvine, who had until now managed lower league clubs, was appointed in June and will be the head coach for a top division club in England for the first time. Joleon Lescott, Craig Gardner and Chris Baird have been roped in on Bosman. The player to watch out for, however, is Brown Ideye, a 25 yr old Nigerian striker who arrived on a rumoured £10m fee from Dynamo Kiev. Last season, West Brom really struggled to get goals. Ideye netted 33 times in 74 appearances for the Ukrainian side and will be a crucial player for the Baggies.

We talked to Mark Thomas of “Albion Till We Die” to get the authentic Baggies perspective on the up-coming season. Here is what Mark had to say:

Chelsea Index: What are your expectations from the upcoming season?
Albion Till We Die: In the early part of the summer I think most Albion fans were dreading the season. A seriously weak squad combined with an ‘iffy’ choice as manager had most supporters seeing nothing other than a relegation battle ahead. A few weeks on and things are looking a little better, there’s certainly still reservations about the manager but the squad is looking stronger although another couple of forwards are still required. It’s still going to be a tough season but I’m no longer resigned to relegation like I was. Last season was awful for so many reasons and I think all Baggies’ fans will settle for a mid-table finish and a season without making front page headlines.

Chelsea Index: What are your thoughts on Alan Irvine?
Albion Till We Die: I don’t think there’s any doubting his coaching credentials and everyone that has been involved with him all say he’s one of the best they have worked with. However, the same things were said about Steve Clarke and he struggled to make the step up to manager. Irvine’s record in charge at both Preston and Sheffield Wednesday wasn’t the best and this is probably his last crack at management so it’s vital for him that he gets off to a good start. Already pretty unpopular with Albion fans, through no fault of his own I must add, a poor first few months will see him go the same way as Clarke and Pepe Mel.

Chelsea Index: Which new recruit do you expect the most from?
Albion Till We Die: I think all eyes will be on Brown Ideye, our £10 million signing from Dynamo Kiev. The majority of fans had probably never heard of him, I certainly hadn’t, and although ‘youtube’ videos aren’t always the best way to judge a player, he does look the business, possessing strength, speed and a decent finish. The last Nigerian international we signed from that part of the World didn’t do too badly for us and if Ideye can make a similar impact as to what Peter Odemwingie did it will be money well spent.

This season Chelsea will face West Brom at Stamford Bridge on 22nd of November, 2014 and at the Hawthorns on 16th of May, 2015, in the penultimate match-day of the season. One in the middle of the season and one at the absolute business end, both these games will be decisive and six points will contribute a lot if the Blues plan to make a successful challenge for the Championship.

Till date, Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion have faced each other 129 times in all competitions. Chelsea have won 54 times, West Brom 42 times and it ended in a draw on 35 other occasions. Chelsea have not lost to West Brom at Stamford Bridge since November 1983. Lastly, did you know, the Baggies were the second competitive visitors to Stamford Bridge, back when Chelsea was formed in 1905??

We’d like to thank Albion Till We Die for speaking with us. Read this space to find out on other Premier League opponents Chelsea will face.