Following an eventful round of midweek international fixtures, Chelsea return to action this weekend with a potentially tricky visit to in-form West Brom.

The Baggies have hit nine goals in their last two league games, and have not failed to hit the net in their last eight fixtures in all competitions.  And with the kamikaze displays that have unfortunately become synonymous with AVB’s team this season, it is hard to envisage anything other than goals from both sides in this one.  And with this in mind, we take a look back at some of the goal-fests that past encounters with our Black Country opponents have produced.

West Bromwich Albion 1-4 Chelsea, The Hawthorns, Saturday 30th October, 2004
With Mourinho’s Blues wrestling with Arsenal for top spot in the Premier League, goals from Gallas, Gudjohnsen, Duff and Lampard piled misery on an Albion side still reeling from the sacking of former manager Gary Megson.  Caretaker boss Frank Burrows saw Gera equalise after Gallas’ opener, but some inspired half-time substitutions on Jose’s part  opened the floodgates for a flurry of second-half goals.  The thrashing saw the club move into first place alongside the Gooners in what would turn out to be a title-winning season.

Chelsea 4-0 West Bromwich Albion, Stamford Bridge, Wednesday 24th August, 2005
A side featuring full debut performances from Michael Essien and Shaun Wright-Phillips ensured that Chelsea knocked four past the Baggies for a second-season running.  A Lampard double, in addition to strikes from Drogba and Joe Cole, sent the team straight to the top of the Premier League in this early-season clash.  Chelsea were rampant against Bryan Robson’s men on the night, and were rampant all season, securing the second of the back-to-back league titles.

West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Chelsea, The Hawthorns, Saturday 15th November, 2008
West Brom succumbed to what was Chelsea’s record tenth successive away win, in what was one of the few highlights of Luis Felipe Scolari’s brief tenure as boss at Stamford Bridge.  A brace from red-hot Nicolas Anelka, complimented by a blistering 20-yard haymaker from Jose Bosingwa, meant that Tony Mowbray could only look on as the Londoners took the three points back home.  A turbulent remainder of the season was steadied towards its conclusion as Guus Hiddink took interim charge of the side following the sacking of Scolari, winning the FA Cup and reaching the Semi Final of the Champions’ League in the process.

Chelsea 6-0 West Bromwich Albion, Stamford Bridge, Saturday 14th August 2010
Former Blue and current Chelsea Assistant Manager, Roberto Di Matteo, brought his Albion side to SW6 on the opening day of the 2010/2011 league season, and had his homecoming well and truly ruined by a 6-0 demolition at the hands of the League and Cup Double winners from the season before.  A Drogba hat-trick, as well as a brace from Malouda and a goal from Lampard secured a win that went down as the biggest opening-day win in Premier League history, and also meant that Chelsea had won their first game of a league season on nine consecutive occasions.  This was one of a number of excellent early-season results Carlo Ancelotti’s team produced which made the mid-season slump that was to follow all the more puzzling.  It was a run of poor mid-season run of results that ultimately cost the Italian his job, despite a strong finish to secure second-place.

Chelsea 2-1 West Bromwich Albion, Stamford Bridge, Saturday 20th August, 2011
Andre Villas-Boas’ first home game as Chelsea supremo would see the Portuguese prodigy test his skills against veteran boss Roy Hodgson, and a stern test it proved to be as his side barely carved out a 2-1 win against the Baggies.  Shane Long’s shock opener caused anxiety, until a second-half revival capped by goals from French duo Anelka and Malouda provided the rescue.

West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea, The Hawthorns, Saturday 3rd March, 2012
A high volume of goals is perhaps the most accurate evaluation of the history of the contests between the two clubs set to do battle once again this weekend, and fortunately the ratio has been kind to us more often that not.  It must be remembered, however, that this is a very different Blues side to that one that has regularly dished out a hammering to the side from The Hawthorns in recent years.

Peter Odemwingie is in sparkling form and will no doubt be looking at a Cahill-Luiz defensive partnership still in its infancy as a factor he can exploit in order to add to his personal tally of goals, which includes five from just his last two matches.  The January signing of Keith Andrews seems to have galvanised their midfield and added a balance to the line-up that was previously lacking.  The Irishman has played in two games since his arrival- the 5-1 derby victory at Wolves and the 4-0 home trouncing of Sunderland- and scored in both.

On our side of things, let’s keep everything crossed in the hope that the injury that forced Danny Sturridge off the pitch during England’s Wembley friendly against Holland is not serious enough to keep him out of the WBA game.  Drogba is set to miss out and is likely to be replaced by goal-shy Torres up-front, but the 3-0 winning margin against Bolton last weekend will hopefully inspire some attacking confidence within the team.

The race for fourth will no doubt intensify this coming weekend, and with Arsenal facing a trip to Anfield and Spurs having to contend with title-chasing Manchester United, the ideal scenario would see our London rivals drop points as we pounce with a win in the Midlands.

Ryan Hollands, @TheRyski

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