Chelsea should start Demba Ba against West Brom - here's why

The Senegalese striker has been largely on the fringes of things at Stamford Bridge this term – but has a great track record against the Baggies.

With Fernando Torres out of action through injury, Chelsea’s other two strikers put their case forward for regular inclusion with goals against Schalke in midweek.

Samuel Eto’o bagged a brace, one slightly fortuitous, the other an excellent finish, while Demba Ba came off the bench to hit the net for the first time this season.

The Cameroon international will be favourite to continue in the starting XI in Chelsea’s clash against West Brom on Saturday, but there is an interesting statistic that suggests that Ba should get the nod instead.

Despite only moving to the Premier League in 2011, Ba has had a lot of joy against Saturday’s opponents, scoring six times against the Baggies in five games for West Ham, Newcastle and the Blues.

His latest strike against Steve Clarke’s men came in February, when the African hitman scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 Chelsea win at Stamford Bridge.

Ba scored the opener against West Brom for Newcastle in a 2-1 victory back last October, and also netted braces against the Baggies for both West Ham and the Tyneside club. In fact, Ba’s first-ever Premier League goal came against the side from The Hawthorns.

It is unlikely that Jose Mourinho cares too much for Ba’s excellent record against West Brom, but the clinical nature of his goal in midweek should also be a key reason that the Senegal international is in the Chelsea manager’s thoughts.

It would be understandable if the African felt slightly dejected after the start to the new season, as he has only featured in two Premier League games so far this term.

However, he reminded the Stamford Bridge faithful just why he was brought to west London in the first place against Schalke, with his fleeting appearance showcasing his tenacity and eye for goal.

Not so long ago, Ba was one of the hottest properties in Premier League football, netting consistently for Newcastle and being linked with all the top clubs; he has not suddenly turned into a bad player overnight.

Given his chance against West Brom, Ba could improve his already impressive record against the Baggies and play his part in three Chelsea points.

image: © Tom Cuppens

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