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We will have a London derby on our hands on Monday when West Ham United make the short journey through the capital to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard’s Blues are under the microscope again after two consecutive Premier League losses, the latest of which was a disappointing late collapse against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and they will be desperate to fix things against their home rivals.
That will be easier said than done, however, as West Ham is on a losing streak of just one loss in its last six games, the last of which was a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.
With the two sides separated by just one spot and one spot in the Premier League, there’s a lot more than bragging rights at stake in this one, and that generally makes for an exciting match.
Here it is 90minPreview of the crash.
Chelsea could be boosted by the return of wingers duo Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who returned to training on Tuesday after a few weeks out with hamstring injuries.
However, there are new concerns about right-back Reece James, who has been sent for a scan for a knee injury that has gotten a bit worse in recent days. The severity of his problem is not yet known: There have been suggestions that he could play Monday along with claims that he might need surgery.
As for West Ham, absent Arthur Masuaku remains out of the game, while David Moyes will have to make a late decision on defender Fabian Balbuena and forward Michail Antonio, who are recovering from muscle injuries.
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell; Kante, Monte, Havertz; Pulisic, Giroud, Werner.
West Ham: Fabianski; Coufal, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, soucek; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Lounges
The atmosphere around Stamford Bridge has soured somewhat recently. Chelsea had been on a 17-game unbeaten streak in all competitions that saw them finish at the top of their Champions League group and pushed them into debates over a Premier League title challenge, but two straight losses in the competition have changed things.
Lampard’s team haven’t actually won in their last three games in all competitions, and their struggles in front of goal have seen the form of costly summer signings of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner under scrutiny.
Chelsea know they need to be better, but getting a win against a team that doubled them last season is a difficult task.
West Ham will come to this one with great confidence. While his recent 1-1 draw with Palace was a bit frustrating, recent positive performances against Aston Villa and Leeds have made fans feel good.
Memories of the October draws with Tottenham and Manchester City remain fresh in the memory and prove that Moyes’ men are more than capable of pulling off a good result against all odds.
This is how both sides have performed in their last five games.
Wolves 2-1 Chelsea (12/15)
Everton 1-0 Chelsea (12/12)
Chelsea 1-1 Krasnodar (12/8)
Chelsea 3-1 Leeds (5/12)
Sevilla 0-4 Chelsea (2/12)
West Ham 1-1 Crystal Palace (12/16)
Leeds 1-2 West Ham (12/11)
West Ham 1-3 Manchester United (5/12)
West Ham 2-1 Aston Villa (11/30)
Sheffield United 0-1 West Ham (11/22)
You just need to look at the Premier League table to see how tight this could be. Chelsea are eighth with 22 points and West Ham ninth with 21, so obviously there isn’t much separating the two teams.
On paper, Chelsea have the talent it takes to rise to the top, but whether they have the confidence to do so is a different matter. The Blues have looked lazy in recent games, while West Ham is flying high.
Ultimately, Chelsea will remain a narrow favorite, but they are expected to have to work hard for this one. West Ham will not go down without a fight.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 West Ham
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