After Saturday’s humbling at home to Crystal Palace, West Ham fans won’t be looking forward to their next London derby, this time against title chasers Chelsea. The Hammers are in danger of slipping into mid-table mediocrity after a promising start to the season, and have picked up just three points from a possible fifteen in their last five matches.
Chelsea on the other hand will approach the match full of confidence after their League Cup win over Spurs on Sunday. The Blues will also be buoyed by seeing Liverpool take three points off nearest rivals Manchester City. They have now opened up a five point gap and have a game in hand over last season’s champions. Mourinho’s men will be looking to cement their position at the top of the league with another three points at Upton Park.
West Ham have no new injury concerns, but will be missing Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole once more. Big Sam may look to make changes after his side’s disappointing performance at the weekend, so recent free signing Nené could be involved. Morgan Amalfitano is suspended for the match.
Chelsea will be without holding midfielders John Obi Mikel (thigh) and the suspended Nemanja Matic. Kurt ‘Desailly’ Zouma could retain his place in midfield if Mourinho opts for his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, while Juan Cuadrado and Oscar may be in with a chance of starting.
- West Ham go into the match as huge underdogs after winning just one of their last eighteen matches against Chelsea in all competitions.
- In addition, The Hammers have only won one of their last ten Premier League matches.
- Chelsea are undefeated in their last six Premier League matches, and have scored at least twice in their last three away matches.
- West Ham have not scored against Chelsea in their last four matches in all competitions.
- Diafra Sakho is West Ham’s leading scorer in the Premier League with nine goals.
- Chelsea’s Diego Costa has almost double the amount of goals that Sakho has however, hitting the net seventeen times.
Possible Line Ups
West Ham (4-3-1-2)
Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell, Noble, Song, Kouyaté, Downing, Sakho, Valencia.
Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis, Zouma, Fabregas, Cuadrado, Oscar, Hazard, Costa.
West Ham – Enner Valencia
The Ecuadorian shone in the World Cup and earned a move to the Premier League, where he’s been subsequently overshadowed in the goals department by strike partner Diafra Sakho. Valencia has four goals in the Premier League compared to Sakho’s nine. What has often been overlooked however is just how well Valencia’s pace stretches defences, creating chances for the rest of the team. He has more assists than Sakho, and takes fewer shots per game than his Senegalese counterpart. Once the goals come, hopefully against Chelsea as far as Hammers fans are concerned, Valencia will show his true worth to the team, and the Premiership.
Chelsea – Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas has been a revelation during Mourinho’s assault on the league this season. While hardly a roaring success at Barcelona, his experience at the Nou Camp has certainly improved the Spaniard’s all round game. The former Arsenal man has fifteen assists in just twenty two starts this season, with a passing percentage up in the high eighties. He has also chipped in with two goals. Surprisingly, Fabregas has also picked up the most bookings for Chelsea so far this season. West Ham will certainly need to keep Fabregas quiet if they are to have any chance of overcoming the League Cup winners.
Impossible to back against Chelsea given the form of both teams and their recent history. I predict a 3-1 Chelsea victory, available at odds of 12/1 with William Hill.
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