Chelsea head into Sunday’s clash with West Ham in a real state of limbo. Quite where they go from this point is tough to figure out, as they sit eight points off the top four. They’re set for a season in the Europa League next time out, while they’re heading into the weekend expecting to lose their champions tag. It seems like Antonio Conte’s reign at the club is fizzling out, as failure to make the Champions League isn’t something which the Blues board are going to take lightly. So with seven games remaining, this season seems to lack a sense of direction for the hosts.
Last weekend’s defeat showed a clear issue with the current side, which is a lack of ideas when Plan A doesn’t go well. The switch to a 3-5-2 was problematic and quickly scrapped, while the Blues have transformed into a squad built to play three at the back in the last 18 months. Part of the run-in will have to involve finding a way forward for the club next season and beyond, even though Conte’s stay at the Bridge surely won’t last longer than nine games at the most.
Team News: Will Conte Bother Naming his Strongest 11?
Chelsea’s strength last season was a settled 11, one which barely changed across the title winning campaign. There have been considerably more changes this term, but there’s still little depth outside of the first team. Conte does have a favoured side, but is there any point sticking with them here? Tottenham’s fixture list basically guarantees they won’t let an eight point lead in fourth slip, while the Blues basically have to go all in for the FA Cup. Keeping their main men out of the firing line might be good, and it could shake up the team.
With Chelsea now looking towards next season, it might be worth going in different directions with selection here. Other systems, players and approaches should probably be tested out. While it’s hard to see Conte ditching the side he seems to always stick with, some rotation might just do the Blues some good in this clash.
West Ham head here with a number of injury worries to consider, as they’ve lost Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang and Winston Reid. Unsurprisingly Andy Carroll is ruled out through injury, facing the side he was ludicrously linked with back in January. With as many as six players out, David Moyes is limited in what he can do in this trip.
West Ham Form
West Ham visit the Bridge on the back of a huge 3-0 win over Southampton, which sent them up to 14th place in the Premier League. The Hammers are edging towards safety, which doesn’t really seem like a huge achievement given the poor quality of some of the sides left in the division.
West Ham have managed to muster just two away wins to their name this term, and they’ve suffered a defeat in over half of their away matches. They’ve lost seven of 10 trips to teams above them so far, and we expect them to struggle once again in this visit.
Chelsea v West Ham Head to Head
Chelsea suffered a real low point in their last clash with West Ham, which saw them lose 1-0 at the Olympic Stadium back when David Moyes and his men were in real trouble. The Blues’ previous three meetings with West Ham have been played in East London, but Chelsea have won four of their last six at home to the Hammers, going unbeaten in that time. Surely with that record behind them they can get a result and put last weekend’s loss behind them?
- West Ham 1-0 Chelsea, Dec 2017
- West Ham 1-2 Chelsea, Mar 2017
- West Ham 2-1 Chelsea, Oct 2016
- Chelsea 2-1 West Ham, Aug 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 West Ham, Mar 2016
- Alvaro Morata to score – 5/6 with Ladbrokes
- Both Teams to Score – 11/10 with Betfair
Chelsea may not have the greatest form behind them going into this clash, but they are still heavy favourites against the Hammers. The hosts have been backed in to 1/4 with Coral to get back to winning ways, which is something Conte’s side really need to do this weekend. You can back West Ham at 11/1 with BetVictor to take the points from this one, while the draw is 9/2 with Betfred. However, will the visitors be able to upset the odds and pull off a shock result in this clash?
The one bright spot for the Blues from the game against Tottenham was Alvaro Morata and his return to scoring form. The striker now has the most headed goals of any one in the Premier League this term, and the Chelsea man should take confidence from his strike against Spurs. That should earn him a start for this game, and luckily enough Morata is going up against the side who have conceded the most headed goals away from home in the top flight. While the ex-Real Madrid man has plenty of talents and can cause trouble in other ways, his aerial prowess should hurt the Hammers. We’re backing another goal for the Spanish forward, and he’s priced at 5/6 with Ladbrokes to score at any time.
Chelsea are in awful losing form, with five recent defeats in the league. Things are going downhill for the Blues, but they should still score against a poor Hammers defence. However, the visitors have been strong going forwards on the road, and they have found the net in their previous eight away matches. West Ham should hurt Chelsea at the back going off current form, yet you can back both teams to score in Sunday’s encounter at 11/10 with Betfair, which seems like great value as far as we are concerned.