Chelsea return to domestic action on Sunday, as they follow up a midweek Europa League game for the first time in over five years. The Blues aren’t too enthused about their commitments in Europe’s second tier, with Eden Hazard staying behind for the trip to Greece. The Belgian links up with his teammates for the short trip to the London Stadium this week, but can the Blues claim all three points to maintain their stunning start?
Maurizio Sarri and his men are trying to maintain their perfect start to the season. Their 1-0 win at PAOK in the Europa League means it’s six wins from six for the Blues so far. They’ll be hoping to build on that ahead of a busy week, which brings two meetings with Liverpool. Before that, they need to pick up three points at a ground where Antonio Conte’s team lost last season. Will this clash bring an end to Sarri’s perfect start?
Team News: Sarri Hoping to Revert to First 11
The Blues didn’t rotate as wildly as they could have during the Europa League in midweek. They made a few changes, which included leaving out Eden Hazard. Despite the midweek win, it’s unlikely that the tweaks to the team will stick, and Sarri is hoping to turn to his first choice group once again. However, both Pedro and Mateo Kovacic face late fitness tests ahead of this one, and neither of the pair featured on Thursday night. Should they not play, Willian will keep his place up front, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be hopeful of a start in midfield.
The Hammers have a lengthy injury list, which includes Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian was a vital part of their win at Everton last weekend, scoring at Goodison Park. They remain burdened with a few more long-term absentees, as Winston Reid, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll are all ruled out for this clash. Manuel Pellegrini won’t want to make too many changes to a side which just turned a corner, and he doesn’t really have many options to change things up now anyway. They’re set to start this one with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Arnautovic leading the line if he can return to fitness in time for this clash.
Wes Ham Form
The hosts are fresh from their first league win of the season, but they remain towards the bottom of the Premier League after some poor form. They lost their opening four matches of the season, which saw the likes of Wolves and Bournemouth claim three points at this ground. Are they going to be able to raise their game ahead of a clash with a London rival? Or can the Blues become the latest side to walk away from this ground with maximum points?
The hosts don’t exactly have a stellar record when it comes to facing the league’s top sides. The only top seven team they beat across last season was that home win over Chelsea. They lost at home to three of the top four last term, and their early season results hardly inspire confidence that the Hammers can take three points away from Sunday’s encounter.
West Ham v Chelsea Head to Head
The Blues didn’t have too much luck against the Hammers last season. They took just a point from their two league games, with old foe Chicharito scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. They’ve struggled in trips to West Ham in recent years, losing three of their last four. However, given the respective starts the pair have made this season the visitors will expect that run to come to an end.
- Chelsea 1-1 West Ham, April 2018
- West Ham 1-0 Chelsea, December 2017
- West Ham 1-2 Chelsea, March 2017
- West Ham 2-1 Chelsea, October 2016
- Chelsea 2-1 West Ham, August 2016
- Both Teams to Score – 4/6 with bet365
- Eden Hazard to Score – 23/20 with BetVictor
Chelsea make this trip to West Ham as favourites, and they’re priced up at 4/7 with Coral. Betfair make the draw 7/2, while you can find West Ham at 9/2 with Ladbrokes. The hosts will be hoping to carry on their momentum from last week, and they’ll be delighted by the impact of Andriy Yarmolenko at Goodison. He scored twice for the Hammers, and they’ll have him in a prominent role ahead of this clash at the London Stadium. However, will that be enough to take them to all three points on Sunday? After all, the Blues have already come through some tricky encounters so far this season.
The visitors have been excellent going forward, but defensive concerns remain. They did well to hang on to a lead against PAOK in midweek, but the Blues have just one clean sheet in their last four Premier League matches. Sarri’s side have quickly got up to speed with the way he wants to play moving forward, but not defensively. The last four meetings between these two in this fixture have seen the Hammers score, and we’re backing them to score again on Sunday. Both teams to score is our tip given their form going forward, and BTTS can be backed at 4/6 with bet365 here.
The Blues are boosted in attack by the return of Hazard, who will benefit from a midweek break. The Belgian is the Premier League’s top scorer, and fresh from last weekend’s hat-trick he is in fine form. The forward is emerging as the league’s best player and looks almost unplayable. West Ham have looked vulnerable at the back so far, and their lack of a defensive midfielder is a glaring weakness. As a result, we’re backing the Belgian to score this weekend. You can find Hazard at 23/20 with BetVictor to score any time. Given his strong start to the season, that seems like generous value.