Premier League’s defending champions Chelsea will look to bounce back from their awful run of form as they host bottom club West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
The Blues have suffered two consecutive league losses against Watford and Bournemouth respectively. Overall, they have just won two in their last five matches in all competitions, a stretch which has drawn some serious criticism on Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, with rumours suggesting that the Italian might face the sack should he fail to change the run of form.
Here are three key battles, which may decide the outcome of the game.
Eden Hazard vs Ahmed Hegazi
Like last season, Eden Hazard has been by far Chelsea’s best player this season, scoring nine goals and providing two assists. That being said, the Belgian looked off-colour in Chelsea’s last two matches and will, therefore, be keen to bounce back to form against West Brom.
However, he will be up against West Bromwich’s defensive stalwart Ahmed Hegazi, who has received a lot of praise for his performances in the Premier League this season. So much so, that he has successfully managed to convince the Baggies to sign his national team partner Ali Gabr.
It will be interesting to see how he fares against one of the best attackers in the world in the form of Eden Hazard this coming Monday.
Marcos Alonso vs Craig Dawson
Left flank has always been an important source of creativity for Chelsea under head coach Antonio Conte. Therefore, there’s no doubt that Marcos Alonso will play a vital role in the team’s build-up as well as being a crucial component in the defensive phases.
Standing in his way, however, will be West Brom fullback Craig Dawson, who will be tasked with the responsibility of stopping the Spaniard. While Alonso’s form has taken a significant dip from last year, he could still prove to be a handful for the West Brom defence, hence, stopping him could be imperative for Alan Pardew’s men.
Daniel Sturridge vs Gary Cahill
Following his transfer from Liverpool last month, West Bromwich fans will be hoping that Daniel Sturridge’s quality can steer them out of the relegation scrap by the end of the season.
The English international did feature in their 3:2 defeat to Southampton last week but will be eager to score his first goal for the club against his former team Chelsea this Monday.
The onus will be on Gary Cahill to keep the former Liverpool striker at bay. In Andreas Christensen’s absence, Cahill will be expected to step up. Sturridge is pretty quick, so Cahill won’t want to have a foot-race with his opponent.