We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips has tipped Branislav Ivanovic to start for West Brom when they take on Chelsea at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
Albion signed Ivanovic, 36, on a free transfer last week and he made his debut on Tuesday night in the Carabao Cup defeat to Brentford.
Ivanovic won three Premier League titles during his spell at Chelsea and, according to Phillips, is likely to start in a back-four against his former club this weekend.
Phillips believes that to accommodate Ivanovic, Kyle Bartley will be dropped from Slaven Bilic’s Premier League starting line-up.
“Bartley could possibly drop out. It could be [Ivanovic] and Ajayi in a back-four,” Phillips told West Brom News.
“Someone has to be sacrificed and it would more than likely be him.
“When you go into games like this [against Chelsea], you need a result and you need experience in there so you would imagine Ivanovic would play.”
Bartley has failed to impress West Brom fans in the club’s two opening Premier League matches in which he conceded a penalty versus Leicester and was part of a hapless defence that conceded five goals at Everton.
Ivanovic couldn’t stop the Baggies from losing via a penalty shoot-out against Brentford but the Serbian defender’s display was promising.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see him thrown into the mix against Chelsea but Bilic has shown in the opening weeks of the season that he has one starting line-up for cup games and another for league games.
He could be loyal to those who started at the back at Everton last week.
In other West Brom news, Albion are keen to sign this 22-year-old international forward.