Champions Chelsea host high flying West Ham United on Match day 31 of the Premier League in a bid to salvage their season. With the title out of their reach, Guus Hiddink’s side will be hoping to finish their season on a high. However, West Ham, who are in sublime form over the last few weeks stand in their way. Chelsea’s home form has been an area of concern as they have won just once in the last 6 home outings and Bilic’s men will be keen to add to the misery.
The Blues will be without the services of Eden Hazard (Hip) and Kurt Zouma ( Knee) while Spanish striker Diego Costa serves his suspension for the red card he received against Everton in the FA Cup. With Falcao just back in training and Loic Remy not preferred, Bertrand Traore could start the game against the Hammers .
Expected Line- Up
Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Pedro and Traore
Slaven Bilic will be without James Collins (Hamstring) and James Tomkins (Calf) as they recover from their respective injuries. With Victor Moses ineligible to feature against his parent club, we expect West Ham to field Antonio, Payet and Lanzini behind Sakho, who could return to the starting line-up after being used as a substitute.
Adrian, Byram, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Antonio, Payet, Lanzini and Sakho.
Willian’s performances have been one of the brighter lights emerging out of Stamford Bridge in what has turned out to be a rather tame season. The Brazilian has been running the show from the middle of the park, combining his industriousness with attacking intent to yield positive results.
He has been Chelsea’s top creator in the Premier League, averaging a chance every half an hour. With 4 goals apart from 5 assists, he has surpassed the heralded names such as Pedro and Hazard in the attacking department.
On Saturday, he will need to continue with his all round performance if Chelsea are to take any positives against a side flying high on confidence. He will be up against the experienced Noble and the industrious Kouyate who have complemented each other’s skills in the middle of the park. Hammers’ left-back Cresswell likes to feature in the final third of the pitch and that could give Willian to run behind the side’s defence and the Brazilian will look to make the chances count.
The 28 years old midfielder has truly revitalised this West Ham side with his performances. Payet has probably been one of the cornerstones of West Ham’s fight for a coveted European spot. He has found the back of the net on 8 occasions in the league while assisting 7 making him the subject of the longest discussion in the Chelsea team meeting prior to the match.
Payet has shown an ability to create something out of nothing and Hiddink will be aware of the same. With the European Championships approaching, it will be very important for Payet to end the season on a high and every impressive performance will help him cement his place in the French side.
This will be the 97th meeting between these two sides in all competitions, with Chelsea having won on 40 occasions compared to West Ham’s 37 victories.
The last West Ham victory at the Stamford Bridge came in the 2002-03 season when they won the game 2-1.
While West Ham have a lot at stake, Chelsea will be hoping for the end of the season to make fresh beginnings. The Blues have drawn 5 of their last 6 home games and we expect the trend to continue.