COMMENT By Aramide Oladipo
Chelsea will have the chance to secure their fifth Premier League title with a win against West Brom at the Hawthorns on Friday night.
Antonio Conte is looking to become the fifth manager in Premier League history to win the league title in his first season in charge of a new club.
The Baggies, meanwhile, are searching for their first win in six Premier League matches, a run that has included five defeats.
Tony Pulis’ side are looking to finish in 8th position, their joint highest finish which they last recorded in the 2012/13 season.
This is set to be a very tense encounter but here are three things that we can expect to happen:
No clean sheet
Despite enjoying shutouts in their last two Premier League matches against Everton and Middlesborough, Thibaut Courtois shouldn’t expect such an easy ride this time around.
The clean sheet in the 3-0 victory at Goodison Park was Chelsea’s first away from home since the FA Cup win over Wolves in February.
Before then, the last time the league leaders managed to keep a clean sheet on the road in the Premier League came all the way back in January when they beat current league champions Leicester City 3-0 at the King Power Stadium.
Since returning to the Premier League in 2010, West Brom have always managed to get a goal against the Blues at the Hawthorns and despite current form, history suggests that Chelsea will concede on Friday night.
A Diego Costa goal
Chelsea are scoring for fun at the moment and the man leading the way for the league leaders is Diego Costa.
The 28-year-old is Chelsea’s top goalscorer with 21 goals in all competitions this season and he is in fine form as he has scored three goals in his last three league appearances.
The Spanish international also seems to enjoy playing against the Baggies as he has scored two goals in three matches against them at Stamford Bridge, including the winner in the reverse fixture between the sides in December.
Costa has yet to score at the Hawthorns during his three year spell in England but with Chelsea a win away from the title and the striker just four goals away from the Golden Boot, he will be hungry to get on the scoresheet.
Trouble from set-pieces – and a shock starter
Antonio Conte’s switch to a back three at the start of October turned out to be a masterstroke but his defence will certainly be tested on Friday night.
Tony Pulis’s side are the best in the league when it comes to set-piece situations as they have scored a total of 15 goals from corner kicks this season.
With this stat in mind, Conte might gamble and start with club captain John Terry in the heart of the defence to give his side more of chance in dealing with set-pieces.
Admittedly this would be a shock as Terry hasn’t started since the fourth game of the season, back in September.
Both centre-backs David Luis and Gary Cahill were named in the PFA team of the year and they’re going to face one of their toughest challenges in their final away match of the season.
In other Chelsea news, Newcastle have been tipped by bookies to secure the signing of this Blues star.