Club News

Gardner: Anyone can be beaten

Midfielder returns from suspension at Stamford Bridge

CRAIG Gardner believes unbeaten leaders Chelsea can be toppled today providing Albion stick to the game plan.

The London outfit are currently four points clear at the summit of the Barclays Premier League having won nine of their 11 matches to date, drawing twice.

In fact, the only points they have dropped this season have come away from home against both Manchester clubs at the Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford respectively.

But Albion can travel to Stamford Bridge in confident mood. Last November they came within seconds of being the first team to defeat Jose Mourinho’s Blues on home soil in the league, only thwarted by a controversial last-minute penalty, while they have tasted defeat just once in their previous five meetings.

This term, the Baggies have already recorded an impressive 1-0 victory at Tottenham while they were narrowly undone at Liverpool.

Speaking ahead of today’s trip to the capital to face Chelsea, Gardner stressed: “Anyone can be beaten.

“If you get a game plan, and your game plan works and you stick to it - not getting frustrated by them keeping the ball and trying to break you down – and then you get a goal, then yes, anyone can be beaten.

“The good thing about us this season is we’re a really well organised team, the gaffer gives us a great chance with the information he gives us on how to beat teams and that’s worked a number of times this season.

“It worked away at Tottenham, it should have worked against Manchester United and Southampton, where we got draws, and it could have worked at Liverpool.

“We go into Saturday knowing what we’re doing on the pitch and going into the game, we’ve worked on that in training. 

“It seems really good so hopefully we can take that into Saturday.”

Gardner returns to contention having been suspended against Newcastle last time out for collecting his fifth booking of the season in the 1-0 triumph at Leicester.

Those games came prior to a two-week international break which has seen 11 Albion players away with their respective nations.

Gardner used the opportunity to find a good balance between recharging his batteries and maintaining high fitness levels – ahead of what he admits is a ‘vital’ period of the campaign.

“We got some good training in, some good fitness in and kept the momentum going,” the midfielder said.

“We’re coming off the back of a tough result to take against Newcastle but we need to roll our sleeves up now and the next three months are a vital part of the season for us.

“You need to mix it up a bit during the break, you need a couple of days of to recuperate but also you need to keep on the training pitch to keep your fitness topped up.

“When the other international lads are away, they’re still training, they’re still playing games, and you don’t want to let them get more fitness than us.

“Everyone’s spirits are high, we know we've got a massive test ahead. Chelsea are a top team but we’re ready.”