Cruising Chelsea sets eyes on Cloud Nine

Antonio Conte's Chelsea juggernaut rolls back into action against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday with the Premier League leaders chasing a ninth consecutive win.

Antonio Conte will be hoping that Chelsea continues its unbeaten streak when it takes on West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.   -  Reuters

Antonio Conte's Chelsea juggernaut rolls back into action against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday with the Premier League leaders chasing a ninth consecutive win.

Chelsea produced the most impressive display of its winning streak last weekend when it came from behind to win 3-1 at Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

It has not won nine successive league games within the same season since 2007 and ahead of West Brom's visit, Marcos Alonso has urged his team-mates not to let its level drop.

"Winning game after game gives you confidence, but you have to keep working," the Spanish wing-back told the Chelsea website.

"The results give you confidence to work in this way, though. We have got to use this momentum of the last eight league games and go on to have another good game against West Brom now."

While most of Chelsea's title rivals have been in European action this week, Conte's side have once again had a full week to prepare for the visit of Tony Pulis's side.

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It is 32 years since West Brom last won at Chelsea, but it has drawn on two of its last three visits and has climbed to seventh in the table on the back of a four-game unbeaten run.

"(Chelsea) are on a great run of form," West Brom manager Pulis told the club website.

"The manager's come in and he's changed things around and got the players playing the way they can. It's a wonderful, wonderful squad of players. But we'll go there and do our best."

Guardiola's City will look to kick its title challenge back into gear when it visits unravelling champion Leicester City on Saturday.

The ill-tempered defeat at Chelsea's hands left a mark, with Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho picking up red cards that will keep them out until after Christmas.

Arsenal on song

Second-place Arsenal, three points behind Chelsea, can provisionally take over at the summit if it beats Stoke City by two goals or more at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Alexis Sanchez's hat-trick fired Arsenal to a 5-1 win at West Ham United last weekend, which was followed by a superb 4-1 win at Basel in the Champions League, but manager Arsene Wenger feels there is more to come.

"I feel the team is on the way upwards," he said.

"But we have as well to show that first of all we can improve, that we have the desire to improve as a team, and as well, that we can repeat the performances week in, week out.

"Stoke is another challenge for us that we can reset, refocus and continue our development and take the points."

Like Chelsea, third-place Liverpool has had a week off to prepare for Sunday's home game with West Ham.

Manchester United, in contrast, entertain Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday just two days after returning from a gruelling Europa League trip to play Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk.

Jose Mourinho's side, currently sixth, trails fifth-place Spurs by six points and will have a mountain to climb in terms of Champions League qualification if it loses at Old Trafford.


Saturday (1500 GMT unless otherwise stated):

Arsenal v Stoke, Burnley v Bournemouth, Hull v Crystal Palace, Leicester v Man City (1730 GMT), Swansea v Sunderland, Watford v Everton (1230 GMT)

Sunday (1415 GMT unless otherwise stated):

Chelsea v West Brom (1200 GMT), Liverpool v West Ham (1630 GMT), Man United v Tottenham, Southampton v Middlesbrough

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