As pointed out earlier in the week on these very pages, Jose Mourinho will record his worse ever start to a league season if Chelsea fail to beat West Brom on Sunday.
The Blues are 13/20 favourites for victory against West Brom, despite performing with alarming incoherence in taking a single point from their opening two outings.
Tony Pulis’ side are a succulent 4/1 to claim a fourth victory in their last five meetings with the champions in front of their own support.
The sole outlier in that sequence was the 1-1 draw the sides shared in February 2014, a repeat of which can be backed at 11/4.
West Brom have started the campaign indifferently and find themselves in the table’s lower reaches after taking a solitary point from their opening brace of opportunities, plundered in goalless fashion from newly-promoted Watford.
Yet to score, they were hammered 3-0 on home turf by Man City on the opening Monday, a result which could be regarded as a positive omen by those minded to rate Chelsea a fair price at 13/20 victory.
However, Tony Pulis was quick to admonish himself for his surprising decision to play 4-4-2 against the Premier League’s top goalscorers for the last two seasons.
Torn apart in most un-Pulis-like fashion, the Welshman’s reaction was plain to see in the Baggies’ very next outing, a study in the pragmatism that has made their manager’s name.
Watford were allowed 64% possession and 16 shots, yet only five called Boaz Myhill into action and the visitors threatened to steal all three points as the match wore on, especially after the introduction of record signing Salomon Rondon.
Prior even to thrashing Chelsea 3-0, City have done them the disservice of running a train on West Brom, scaring the Baggies back into the same shell the Blues have found so hard to crack at the Hawthorns in recent seasons.