Following their 3-0 humbling at the hands of Manchester City, the side likely to run them closest in the race for the Premier League title, Chelsea fans would have been relieved to finally have something to suggest their stuttering season is set for a much-needed boost following two significant additions to the first-team squad.
First through the door on Monday was Ghana international Baba Rahman, who should provide some much-needed competition at full back with Branislav Ivanovic’s early-season form an increasing concern.
Later in the week came the more surprising news that Barcelona forward Pedro, who had widely been expected to be joining Manchester United this summer, would bolster Jose Mourinho’s attacking ranks.
Both players are included in the squad for Sunday’s trip to the Hawthorns, where West Brom will be looking to replicate last season’s home victory over Chelsea to record their first three points of the season.
Pulis is likely to revert to type after his experiment with a more expansive game against Man City saw them well beaten on the opening weekend, meaning a more attritional encounter can be expected between two of the Premier League’s more conservatively-minded managers.
A bonus in this department for the visitors will be the return of their number one Thibaut Courtois following his suspension, while there will be an increased scrutiny on how the Blues’ defence shapes up, with John Terry having been substituted at half time last week.
Nonetheless, with West Brom yet to score this season and managing only two shots on target in their first two games, Mourinho will be confident of his side reverting to their usual miserly ways.
With Oscar out injured, new signing Pedro could well be thrown straight into the first team, though as players with contrasting styles, expect the Spanish World Cup winner to bring a bit more zip and energy to Chelsea’s flanks.
This can only be good news for Diego Costa, who will be keen to get back to the consistent scoring of last season. Should his supply line crank up a notch, that’s exactly what Mourinho will be banking on.
With that in mind, Chelsea to follow the Mourinho blueprint to a tee and win 1-0 looks tempting at 5/1, while seven of Costa’s 20 league goals last term came inside the first 25 minutes, meaning that should the Spaniard get off the mark for the season at the Hawthorns, he’s the prime candidate at 3/1 to score first to see his odds doubled in Ladbrokes’ Sharp Shooter offer (more below).
Ladbrokes are also running a price boost for the game, live from Sunday morning at 8.00am, with Diego Costa to score and Chelsea to win shifting from 6/4 to 2/1.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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