The Premier League returns after a brief break for the FA Cup and the fixtures include a feisty London derby at Stamford Bridge. The two sides come into the match in contrasting form. Chelsea are challenging for the title, while West Ham are struggling at the bottom of the table after a very poor run of form that has seen the fans turn against Sam Allardyce. The home side’s fans have also questioned their own club after the sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United, but Jose Mourinho has made very few mistakes in the past, so the Spanish International’s departure shouldn’t have a huge effect on the team. The Portuguese manager has moved quickly to replace Mata with Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah who joined on Sunday from FC Basel.
Chelsea are part of the main three contenders for the title. They are in third place, but are pulling away from the rest of the league with Liverpool in fourth trailing the Blues by six points. If they beat West Ham on Tuesday and other results go their way, they could find themselves top of the table as they are only two points behind Arsenal who are top currently. Mourinho’s men have won their last five league games as the manager appears to have finally found the winning formula. In his last spell, he used a 4-3-3 very effectively with Arjen Robben and Damien Duff operating as wingers. This season he has decided on a 4-2-3-1 formation with Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian who have made the attacking midfield positions their own leading to Mata’s exit. The reason for this appears to be these three have greater pace and work harder defensively than the two-time Chelsea player of the year.
Across London, West Ham have had a disastrous season to date as they lie in 18th place. A positive for the Hammers is that they are only one point from the side above them and only six points separate the bottom eleven sides, so a few victories will pull them clear of immediate danger. They have only taken five points from their last nine league matches which highlights their fall down the table which has increased the pressure on Allardyce, especially from the supporters, but the board have publicly backed him on several occasions. Players are starting to return from injury which will be a huge boost to their survival hopes as they have a small squad that has been stretched in recent weeks. The signings of Italian Internationals Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino on loan will also be a welcome addition to the squad.
In their first meeting at Upton Park, Chelsea triumphed 3-0 with former West Ham midfielder Frank Lampard netting twice, once from the spot. The other was scored by Oscar. In this fixture last season, Chelsea won 2-0 with Lampard and Hazard scoring for the home side. England International Lampard is a frequent scorer for Chelsea against his former club, scoring five in his last five matches against West Ham.
Jose Mourinho has won 100 of his 140 of his matches as a Premier League manager. He is the quickest to that landmark in Premier League history.
West Ham are the only Premier League side not to score a headed goal this season which is surprising with Allardyce at the helm, although with Andy Carroll’s return, this is likely to be rectified.
Oscar will be expected to step up his game, especially creatively, now Mata has left the club. He has created 24 chances so far this season, but he’ll want to improve that. He created a chance every 56 minutes, which is okay, but the more creative players in the league normally create chances more frequently than that so the Brazilian will try to get closer to players such as David Silva and Mesut Ozil. He has two assists this campaign as well as scoring six times himself which shows the danger he poses in the final third. West Ham’s defence is still vulnerable, which will give Oscar the encouragement that he can cause problems on Tuesday. In their last league game, West Ham struggled to cope with Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye, who scored two goals, Oscar could have a similar impact this week. In the remaining league matches, Chelsea’s attacking midfielder will be keen to impress to consolidate his place in the Brazil squad ahead of the World Cup in his home country. He scored in the corresponding fixture against the Hammers and Winner Sports have him at odds of 6/1 to open the scoring on Tuesday.
West Ham have been boosted by the return of their talisman Andy Carroll, who has been brought off the bench in their last two league games. After starting the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi final, many expect the English International to start on Tuesday. Last season he scored seven goals and assisted four times in 24 matches. He will be keen to get a similar tally in the second half of this season to try and secure a place in the World Cup squad. He has one assist since returning from injury this season. The former Newcastle and Liverpool striker will give the side a focal point in attack which will be welcomed by Allardyce as his side has struggled to score goals this season. His return may also revitalise Kevin Nolan who has been extremely disappointing this season having scored as many goals as he has received red cards. A lot of pressure has been put on Carroll to be the man to lead West Ham up the table, so we’ll see what he is made of in the next few months. Winner Sports have him at odds of 5/1 to score at anytime.
Salah will be available for selection after his move to Stamford Bridge, while fellow new signing Nemanja Matic could be in line for his first league start after impressing in the FA Cup against Stoke. Fernando Torres will be missing for the next month so Samuel Eto’o is likely to lead the line after his impressive hat-trick against Manchester United in the last league match. The injury to Torres will also give the opportunity to Demba Ba to stake a claim for a first team place as his playing time will increase.
New signings Borriello and Nocerino could make their West Ham debuts after moving from Italy. Carroll is also likely to make his first league start since returning from injury. The side will also be boosted by the return of captain Nolan from suspension. Guy Demal and Joey O’Brien could make their returns from injury on Tuesday, but Winston Reid, Mo Diame, Joe Cole, George McCartney and Ricardo Vaz Te will all still be missing.
Chelsea should triumph fairly comfortably in this match. They have stepped up the gears in recent weeks, while West Ham are still recovering from their recent slump. The Hammers’ players are still trying to click again after an array of injuries and suspensions, but their performances will gradually improve in the next few weeks. It won’t be embarrassing for the visitors, but they will still fall short on Tuesday.
Winner Sports also have Chelsea as favourites at very short odds of 1/5. They have West Ham at very long odds of 14/1 which reflect the side’s slide down the table, but Allardyce’s side did pull at an upset at White Hart Lane this season so it’s not out of the question that they could win on Tuesday. Winner have Frank Lampard at very short odds of 11/10 to continue his impressive scoring record against his former club at anytime. With Demba Ba likely to come off the bench at some stage, he could be the last goalscorer, Winner have him at odds of 17/4 to score the last goal. With Carlton Cole being in good goalscoring form, it may be tempting to back him to score the last goal at odds of 16/1. You can sign up for a free bet with Winner here – Free £25 bet with Winner