West Ham host Chelsea on Wednesday evening in what is very likely to be a hard-fought EFL Cup encounter at London Stadium. The club will be hoping for the battles to stay on the pitch of course, and an alcohol ban and a “robust policing plan” have been put in place to ensure things don’t get too nasty between the fans.
Here though we’ll focus on the game itself and it could be a real cracker. With both managers supremely eager to bring some silverware to their respective clubs, we fancy both will opt for strong teams in this one. After Chelsea’s emphatic 4-0 victory over Man United, will they kick on in style against the Hammers, or will the home side build on their back-to-back 1-0 league victories?
Team News: Terry Set to Warm Bench Again
It seems that John Terry is far from an automatic selection for Chelsea these days, especially after Chelsea kept a clean sheet against Man United on Sunday while he looked on from the bench. We expect him to start as sub once again, with the trio of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill set to play. Kurt Zouma is on the way back from injury and might feature on the bench.
For West Ham, Slaven Bilic is likely to stick with the crux of the side which earned a 1-0 victory over Sunderland last time out. There are no fresh injury worries to contend with (obviously Andy Carroll is still absent!) so it will be simply a matter of whether or not Bilic feels he should shuffle his pack for this one.
West Ham Form
Prior to their win over the Black Cats on Saturday, West Ham had earned only four points from four home league matches this season. In fact, since their campaign started prematurely way back in July in the Europa League, the Hammers have won just five of their 14 games in all competitions.
Things might be starting to turn around a little for Bilic and his men. After an appalling run of four straight defeats in August/September, West Ham have won three and drawn one from five matches. Having just put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the Irons will go into this game in confident mood. Whether or not that confidence proves to be misplaced remains to be seen, of course.
West Ham v Chelsea Head to Head
All the meetings between these sides in recent years have been in the Premier League, with the last being on the opening day of the current season. While Chelsea have had the upper hand on the whole, the Hammers have held their own on a number of occasions, and it has rarely been a walkover.
- Chelsea 2-1 West Ham, Aug 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 West Ham, Mar 2016
- West Ham 2-1 Chelsea, Oct 2015
- West Ham 0-1 Chelsea, Mar 2015
- Chelsea 2-0 West Ham, Dec 2014
- Chelsea to win to nil – 23/10 at Coral
- Eden Hazard to score first – 6/1 at BetVictor
Chelsea are the odds-on favourites to win this one, with Bet365 and others pricing them at 4/5. The draw is out at 3/1 with BetVictor while the home side can be backed at 19/5 with Betfred. Looking purely at the match result odds, there will be a fair few punters out there who see backing the home side as the best value option. We would agree if this match had taken place after Chelsea’s winless (in normal time) September, but we think they’ve turned a corner since.
Chelsea looked ruthless and determined when facing their old boss Jose Mourinho on Sunday and put Man United to the sword, winning 4-0. That result comes on the back of two other victories – 2-0 away against Hull and 3-0 at home against Leicester. If Antonio Conte has now found the formula that combines a solid defence and a decent attacking threat, the Blues could cruise to the win here against a West Ham side who have been somewhat inconsistent to say the least this season. As such, backing Chelsea to win the match without conceding – as they have done four times this term – could be worth a look at odds of 23/10 with Coral.
Conte’s 3-5-2 formation looks not only to be making the defence harder to penetrate, but it is also starting to give Eden Hazard the chance to shine once more. He scored against Man United – his fourth league goal of the current campaign – and the Belgian might well be afforded enough space to make an impact in this one. He is priced at best odds of 6/1 with BetVictor to get the opening goal of the game, and we think that is a price worth grabbing.
West Ham’s best hope of success in this one is to keep things as tight as possible for as long as possible. If Chelsea start with the vim and vigour they showed in the early stages against the Red Devils, this might prove a very difficult task for the home side. But if Bilic sends his troops out with a defensive mindset there is a fair chance they will make it to half time without conceding. Backing the draw at half time, or even the half time correct score of 0-0, are both options that hold some appeal at respective odds of 7/5 and 12/5, both with Bet365.
Of course, an early goal for the visitors could open the floodgates, as it did against United at Stamford Bridge, but on balance we think this one will turn out to be a narrow victory for Chelsea. Correct score bets are notoriously difficult to land but backing Chelsea to win and under 2.5 goals to be scored could be a decent option at 19/5 with Coral.