A barely predictable turn of events have left the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal empty-handed in the English top-flight.
The arrival of Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, as well as the return of the Special One – Jose Mourinho seem to have guaranteed a cruel battle for the Premier League title, but the pair of London clubs managed to demonstrate consistency and tireless work rate throughout the season, thus earning their respective places in the Premier League top.
Chelsea went on a destructive 13-game winning streak in the middle of the season to cement their place on the top of Premier League and enter the record books with the second-best win streak in the competition’s history.
The Blues did not drop from the first place ever since. Spurs showed character and desire winning 9 games in a row and putting pressure on the Blues. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea had a 10 point lead before a surprising loss at Stamford Bridge to relegation-battling Crystal Palace before dropping more points at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
Spurs were closing in and just 4 points separated the two teams with 4 games left to play at the time. But the unpredictability of the Premier League kicked in once again. This time Spurs lost to West Ham in a London derby and Chelsea put the final nail in Middlesbrough coffin to restore a 7 point lead and sink Boro back to the Championship.
Now Antonio Conte & co. have a chance to end the title run. Tonight the Baggies host the Blues at The Hawthorns. Tony Pulis’ side looks forward to facing the table toppers and the manager himself has given a lot of credit for the potential Premier League champions and does not mind if Antonio Conte and his players celebrate victory at West Brom.
“Whether they celebrate on our pitch, whether they celebrate back at Stamford Bridge, they deserve to be where they are”, said Pulis during the pre-match press conference.
Antonio Conte admitted that the upcoming fixture will not be easy for Chelsea. West Bromwich are 8th in the league and have performed well during their last meeting at Stamford Bridge.
“Its not easy to play against West Brom.They have a very strong, physical team with a great coach and for sure the atmosphere will be very hot.” Said the former Juventus manager.
Both players and the manager want to end the race as soon as possible. Antonio Conte and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas agree on the matter.
Asked about the game on Friday the 30-year-old Spaniard said: I have experience in winning big titles. Trust me, the quicker, the better.
N’Golo Kante was the only player injured when Chelsea played Middlesbrough, however the Frenchman recovered and according to Antonio Conte all his players are “fit and available” for the game.
Brazilian defender David Luiz has been substituted against Boro, as his knee problem is still present, but Luiz will most likely play against The Baggies.
Chelsea has no suspensions.
West Brom will try to make trouble for Chelsea and the returning Johny Evans will definitely be helpful for that difficult task. Striker Hal Robson-Kanu has recovered from hamstring injury and may feature as a substitute.
Matt Philips remains unavailable due to hamstring strain.
The Baggies have no suspensions.
Venue: The Hawthorns
Referee: Michael Oliver