Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge, with only a place in the Premier League table separating the pair.
Maurizio Sarri’s side are just two points off the Premier League’s top four, with Wolves also in serious contention for a journey into Europe next year.
Coincidently, it was Nuno Espirito Santo’s team who ended the Blues’ unbeaten start to the league campaign, a result that rocked their Champions League qualification chances. A 2-1 win for them at Molineux earlier in the season woke everyone up to the potential of the Premier League’s returning Wolves.
Before the pair meet on Sunday, we have peeked into the archives for the last three occasions a West Midlands club has visited Stamford Bridge.
Premier League: Chelsea 3-0 West Bromwich Albion (12th February 2018)
It is in the nature of Chelsea to recycle managers, Antonio Conte the latest to face the chop. A year after lifting the title, the Italian’s future was on thin ice following consecutive losses to Bournemouth and Watford, so this victory against West Bromwich Albion gave him a few more months in the dugout.
Chelsea sat staring at the Champions League places above them, whilst West Brom were rock bottom with relegation becoming a looming reality. Olivier Giroud was given his full Chelsea debut, as former Blue Daniel Sturridge lined up on the opposite side.
Following an understandably nervy start, the hosts found their rhythm and the lead. Eden Hazard linked delightfully with Giroud, the Frenchman teeing up the brilliant Belgian as he stroked home the opener. An unexpected star of Conte’s maiden season grabbed the second, as Victor Moses stabbed the ball past Ben Foster following a deflection off Craig Dawson.
Hazard saved his mesmeric best until last, smoothly sliding onto his left foot and unleashing an unstoppable strike which left the Baggies ‘keeper motionless and set Stamford Bridge booming with noise; this was his seventh league goal against West Brom.
The visitors had now failed to beat Chelsea away in 17 visits in all competitions, leaving them seven points from safety after one win in 25 league games. Conte’s team went just a point behind Tottenham Hotspur in fifth.
Despite what owner Roman Abramovich thought, the Chelsea faithful belted out ‘Antonio’ throughout the match in support of their boss; he lost his job six months later.
Premier League: Chelsea 2-0 Aston Villa (17th October 2015)
Another to face the inevitable Abramovich axing was Jose Mourinho. Just like Conte, Mourinho had orchestrated a Premier League triumph with Chelsea 12 months before, only to lose face the sack that season.
His situation before kick-off against 18th-placed Aston Villa was far from pretty, sitting just two places above them. The Blues were on course to their worst start to a season since 1978 before a comfortable victory against Villa.
Diego Costa’s timely return from a three-match ban for violent conduct was ultimately the difference, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek a surprising addition to the starting line-up. Latching onto a poor pass from Brad Guzan, Willian raced through on goal before laying into the path of Costa for a simple tap-in.
Chelsea began to cruise against Tim Sherwood’s strugglers, finishing off the fixture in an untidy yet greatly received fashion. Cesc Fabregas’ lofted pass was controlled expertly by Costa, cutting inside and shooting only to see his effort hit Alan Hutton for an unwanted own goal for the defender.
Mourinho had never lost successive home league games as manager, however, he couldn’t hold on as Chelsea manager, as the club sacked the Portuguese boss in December. Sherwood’s stint lasted for just eight days after the defeat at the Bridge.
FA Cup: Chelsea 1-1 Birmingham City (18th February 2012)
Copy and paste the same storyline but replace Andre Villas-Boas into the text. Between October and March, Chelsea won a mere three games that ultimately sacrificed Villas-Boas as Blues boss.
Sandwiched in between this rotten run was the visit of Birmingham City in the FA Cup, led out by Chris Hughton, but a game Chelsea were anticipated to prevail in.
No such luck, as calamitous Chelsea defending allowed David Murphy the easiest of tasks to score from close range 20 minutes in, as the already disgruntled crowd began to turn.
Chelsea boasted the likes of Petr Cech, David Luiz, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres in their side, yet were completely matched by Birmingham’s tireless pressing and energy.
A lifeline was offered in the form of a penalty, which Mata stepped forward to take and miss, Colin Doyle tipping the Spaniard’s spot kick onto the post. Chelsea’s blushes were spared as club legend Branislav Ivanovic located the head of Sturridge for the equaliser.
Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba came off the bench to no prevail, with a replay the only option on the cards. Villas-Boas was met with a rapture of boos and jeers, the imminent noise of a man in trouble; he had departed two weeks down the line.
By Nathaniel Kay