West Ham United vs Chelsea
Venue: Upton Park
West Ham United host League leaders Chelsea in the Premier League and we could be in for a feisty game considering the tension between the two London clubs and their managers.
Capital One Cup winners Chelsea will look to maintain their five-point lead at the top, but it won’t be easy as the Hammers will look to end their six-game winless streak in the League stretching back from January this year. The blues dropped points in their last League game against Burnley and will want to follow up the League Cup win over Tottenham with another win over one of their London rivals.
Lineups and tactics
The Hammers have been abysmal in the last month and half and part of the reason on why they have been so bad is their defense. The duo of Winston Reid and James Tomkins who were assured in the first half of the season no longer have the sense of security about them and it was seen in their last game against Crystal Palace. Sam Allardyce’s men are generally well drilled with their defending in set -piece situations but we found out by Crystal Palace and Glenn Murray last week. Equally important was the absence of James Collins who picked up an injury against Liverpool in January and his experience has been missed. The Welshman could be drafted in for James Collins for the game against Chelsea.
In midfield, we could see the diamond formation with Stewart Downing at the tip. Alex Song could play as the holding midfielder with Mark Noble and Kouyate supporting him. The midfield will have to be defensive as Chelsea have a lot of attacking threat and could hurt the Hammers if they try to play expansive football. Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho will lead the line for West Ham and will be key players for Sam Allardyce as the duo have strength, pace and finishing prowess to hurt any team. Allardyce’s biggest hope will be to unleash the duo on the counter-attack whenever they get the chance as it’s likely that Chelsea will have the possession and will do more of the attacking.
Probable XI: Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell, Noble, Song, Kouyat , Downing, Sakho, Valencia.
The blues will be in buoyant mood after their win over Tottenham in the League cup final and will want to keep the momentum going in the League. Jose Mourinho could go with the same lineup against West Ham with the exception of Azpilicueta and Zouma. The duo could be dropped to the bench to make way for Filipe Luis and Oscar.
Cesc Fabregas and Ramires could play as the double pivot in front of the defense that will comprise of Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry and Luis. The defense will have to be wary of West Ham’s pace on the counter attack. Up front, we could see Juan Cuadrado starting against West Ham ahead of Willian and he will partner Oscar and Eden Hazard in attack. The trio will play behind Diego Costa who will want to add to his tally of 17 goals for the season.
West Ham could make themselves as compact as possible, so we could see Fabregas playing a very attack minded role compared to the deeper playmaking role that he has usually been employed in. His creativity will be key in unlocking West Ham’s defense which cold be stingy tomorrow.
Probable XI: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis, Ramires, Fabregas, Cuadrado, Oscar, Hazard, Costa.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games
- West Ham have managed to win just one in the last 10 Premier League games.
- In addition, they have won just one of their last eighteen matches against Chelsea in all competitions.
- Chelsea haven’t conceded against West Ham in their last four matches in all competitions.
The blues look to strong for Allardyce’s men and it’s unlikely that the Hammers will make their home advantage count tomorrow. In addition, Allardyce’s men have been poor defensively off late and could be taken apart by Chelsea if they manage to concede an early goal.
Full-time score: West Ham 1-3 Chelsea
Blast from the past