Chelsea play after their rivals in the Premier League this weekend, as they travel to West Ham on Tuesday. The Blues will be aiming to build on the 10 point gap they opened up last weekend, especially as we get close to the run in. This game represents one of their biggest remaining away tests, having travelled to Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs already. The Blues haven’t found trips to West Ham easy in recent years, but how will they fare at the Olympic Stadium?
Chelsea did lose their first trip to this ground, which came in the EFL Cup back in October. That’s the only competition that the Blues have been eliminated from so far this season, as they aim to win the league and cup double in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge. Taking the points here could be a huge step forward for their aim of sealing the championship, especially as they’ll know how their rivals have done when they step out at the London Stadium on Monday night. However, you can bet that the hosts will be up for this game, seeing as they have so little aside from local pride to play for.
Team News: Conte to return to London Stadium with reinforcements
Once again Conte can pick from his full squad, but he’s unlikely to make too many changes. Cesc Fabregas started and scored against Swansea, but this might be the kind of game where Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante are needed in the middle. Otherwise, this should be the usual team taking on the Hammers. That makes quite a change from the rotated side who lost 2-1 at this ground in the League Cup. That game was one of Conte’s early outings with the 3-4-3, only with a weakened side. Can the full strength team step up and claim revenge for that defeat? Given how brilliant they’ve been since the defensive switch, they should come here full of confidence.
West Ham’s season has been hampered by injuries, and they’re still missing a few players ahead of this game on Monday. Former Chelsea man Gokhan Tore is out injured, alongside Diafra Sakho. Angelo Ogbonna is also injured ahead of this game, while key man Michail Antonio is suspended after being sent off at Watford last weekend. The former Nottingham Forest man was linked with a move across London to Stamford Bridge in January. His attacking talent and ability to play at right back made him a potential right wing back, and he would have been a real thorn in the Blues’ defence had he appeared here.
West Ham Form
West Ham have had a turbulent time since their switch to the Olympic Stadium in the summer. What should have been a bright new start for them has been very problematic, and they’ve slumped down the table as a result. They’ve won just 38% of their Premier League matches since their move to the new ground. They’ve lost just as many games, while they’ve crashed out of the Europa League and FA Cup in disappointing defeats at their new home.
Things haven’t exactly picked up for the Hammers of late, as they’ve won just one of their last five home matches. While they saw off a struggling Crystal Palace side, they have conceded nine times in two meetings with Man City. They also slipped to a defeat against Manchester United, and drew 2-2 with West Brom. This ground is far from a fortress, so the Blues should have no fear ahead of this trip.
West Ham v Chelsea Head to Head
Recent meetings between these two sides have been quite mixed, especially last season. The Hammers were on the rise last term, and that led to them taking four points in the two league matches, and they were unlucky not to win in their match at Stamford Bridge. However, the Blues opened their title push with a 2-1 win over West Ham, and they’ll be hoping to maintain their lead at the top with another victory.
- West Ham 2-1 Chelsea, 26th Oct 2016
- Chelsea 2-1 West Ham, 15th Aug 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 West Ham, 19th Mar 2016
- West Ham 2-1 Chelsea, 24th Nov 2015
- West Ham 0-1 Chelsea, 4th Mar 2015
- Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals – 11/8 with Coral
- Diego Costa to score first – 10/3 with SkyBet
The Blues come into this game as 4/7 favourites with Ladbrokes, while West Ham are 19/4 outsiders with Bet365. That clearly points towards an away win, but we aren’t going to back the leaders at that price. While their full strength team should be able to reverse that 2-1 away defeat, we can see this being another high scoring encounter between these two sides.
Both meetings between the east-west rivals this term have seen three goals scored, while the last four encounters between them have seen at least three goals. The Hammers have been conceding far too many against the top sides, with Arsenal and City both racking up five goals in their recent visits here. The Blues should be confident of scoring a couple, but they have conceded in four straight league matches. While we’re backing an away win, we’re also going with at least three goals. Chelsea to win and over 2.5 is priced at 11/8 with Coral.
One man worth keeping an eye on is wing back Victor Moses, who played for West Ham on loan last season. He’s priced at 4/1 with BetVictor to score against his former teammates. However, we think Diego Costa is the one to go with in the goalscorer markets. He’s hit 16 league goals, half of which have opened the scoring. We’re tipping him to make a quick impact at the London Stadium, as we’re backing the forward to score first at 10/3 with Sky Bet.