West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea Preview: Pulis seeking upset in front of watching owner

West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea Preview: Pulis seeking upset in front of watching owner

Tony Pulis' West Brom face a tough test at the Hawthorns on Saturday, as their owner jets in to take a closer look at the under pressure manager.

Oliver Emmerson

West Bromwich Albion could drop into the relegation zone if they fail to pick up a positive result against Chelsea at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Pressure is increasing on the owners to sack manager Tony Pulis, with his popularity amongst fans sliding rapidly after a poor start to the season.

The situation has got to the extent where owner Guochuan Lai will jet in to attend the fixture, keeping a watchful eye over the man he's so far placed faith in to keep the Albion in England's top division.

Baggies on the slide

It's hard to argue with the general opinion amongst Baggies fans, with their side having picked up just 10 points from their opening 11 Premier League games, with no league win in nine.

In fact, such was West Brom's drop off at the end of last season, they've only won twice in 20 games since beating Arsenal 3-1 in March, taking 12/60 league points in that period.

Fans have never been to keen on Pulis' direct style of play, but when the results are there it's hard to complain too much.

Now though, with his recent record, the next few games look set to be crucial.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur may be written off as games the Baggies were never likely to win, with the home game against Newcastle United on November 28 potentially sealing Pulis' fate.

"If you don't get results, you're under pressure," said the boss.

"I understand, the more you give, the more people want. We brought in a lot of good players, players we hoped would gel straight away, and we've been unfortunate."

Chelsea ready to pounce

Chelsea winger Willian admitted earlier in the week that their title defence hasn't gone to plan so far, with in-form Manchester City racing into a 12 point lead at the top of the table already.

However, the Blues do come into the game off the back of three successive league wins and could move from fourth to second by bagging three points.

The Hawthorns has been a happy hunting ground for them recently, with a 1-0 win in May sealing them the title last season. 

Batshuayi to miss out

Unfortunately for the Chelsea, their goalscorer from that win won't feature on Saturday, Michy Batshuayi unavailable with an ankle issue.

What happens with David Luiz is of interest, with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte making it very clear that the Brazilian had work to do after being left out of the matchday squad for the victory over Manchester United two weeks ago.

Elsewhere for the Blues, Victor Moses remains out whilst Gary Cahill and Danny Drinkwater are set to be available despite missing international duty with England.

Baggies minus Chadli

As they seek goals, West Brom will be without resident creator Nacer Chadli, who joins James Morrison on the injury list. 

Salomon Rondon may feel he's the best man to lead the line against the Champions, hoping to replace Hal Robson-Kanu up front.