Chelsea will be looking for their sixth straight Premier League victory when they come up against West Ham on Sunday. The Hammers enter the clash after capturing their first win of the season against Everton away, having lost their previous 4 games. Chelsea will be hoping to secure all 3 points as they prepare to welcome Liverpool to the Bridge next Wednesday.
The Blues have an impressive head-to-head record against their London rivals:
What to expect?
Chelsea has had the most possession in Europe’s top five leagues this season. Maurizio Sarri’s new system has brought a new attacking style of football to Chelsea, one that has been admired by even Chelsea’s biggest rivals. The strange thing about this clash is that it may favour the Blues to be playing West Ham away rather than at home, the Olympic Stadium pitch size is very large allowing the Blues to play their football as they aim to pass the Hammers to death. Also, they have struggled since the Stadium switch to make much of an atmosphere, due to the stands being so far away from the pitch and having many empty seats as the stadium switch meant a huge upgrade in seats, also obviously the fact they haven’t recorded any points at home this season.
Here is how the two sides’ centre-forwards compare this season:
My Predicted Line-up
GK: Kepa – Thursday’s Europa League win against PAOK, showed fans just how little trust Sarri has in Caballero, as Maurizio stuck with Kepa between the sticks. Due to this, I don’t think it’s in question who will be starting on Sunday.
RB: Azpi – Sarri has announced he will be announcing his captain for this season very soon, with Azpi in contention. He is expected to start on the right side of Chelsea’s back-line against the Hammers.
CB: Rudiger – One of Chelsea’s most impressive players so far this season, the German has looked strong and composed in possession, and is very much expected to start.
CB: David Luiz – In my opinion, I do not believe the Brazilian should be starting, seems to be making mistakes most games, and looking extremely shaky in the defensive aspect, considering he’s playing centre-back, that is worrying…
I would personally rather see Christensen play alongside Rudiger, but Sarri seems to favour Luiz.
LB: Marcos Alonso – Great start for the Spaniard under Sarri, improving in defensive areas and looking as strong as ever in attack. Fully expect him to be in the starting line-up.
CM: Jorginho – The dictator, as I like to call him, has had a quite unbelievable start to life at Chelsea, controlling the tempo of the side, and keeping the ball flowing from defence to midfield up to attack. There’s little doubt he will be starting against West Ham.
CM: Kante – enough said.
CM: Kovacic/Barkley – If Kovacic is fit he will be expected to start, after picking up a small injury against Cardiff. However, if he’s not, Barkley will most likely take his place.
LW: Eden Hazard – Probably the most in-form player in Europe as of late, scoring a hat-trick against Cardiff last weekend, making him the League’s top scorer this campaign. Unless injured, there’s no doubt he’ll be starting for the Blues.
ST: Giroud – It seems the Frenchman could have finally broken his way into the Chelsea starting 11, he had glimpses last season, but nothing solid. However, his first touch and ability to hold up a ball in tight spaces has made him perfect for Sarri’s system, he might not score that many, but if he plays, his assist count will be like no other strikers; this will hugely benefit Hazard.
RW: Willian – This could go either way, but I believe Willian will start.
Here are a few match facts and how our friends at Football Fancast expect the Blues to line up on Sunday:
Now for the West Ham team news and match facts, once again provided by the good people at Football Fancast: