Chelsea host West Ham United in a huge London derby, which could have a massive impact on the top-six battle in the Premier League.

Chelsea looked primed to finish the season in third place in the Premier League, although their position has come under threat following the events at Stamford Bridge in midweek. Arsenal ran out 4-2 winners against the odds, as they closed the gap over the Blues, which now stands at just two points, although Thomas Tuchel’s men have two games in hand over the Gunners.

After enjoying a comfortable run in the league, Chelsea could start looking over their shoulder with their position under threat from the north Londoners.  On Sunday, the reigning European champions face another team from the capital, who could inflict more damage, in the form of West Ham United.

Chelsea are in the FA Cup Final, which remains their only chance of silverware left this season. Tuchel will want his side to open up a gap over Tottenham and Arsenal as he looks forward to finishing the season on a high note. While they failed against Arsenal, they have two more important games lined up against the Hammers and Manchester United that represent a season-defining period for their manager.

West Ham may have one eye on their Europa League campaign after reaching the semi-finals. But David Moyes will be keen on repairing the team’s league form. They have dropped points in the last two games, losing to Brentford and then drawing against Burnley.

Those results have put them out of the running for the top-four place, although they could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League. A good result against Chelsea will go a long way toward instilling the belief for a good end of the season run.

West Ham United still have important games left, with a visit from Arsenal and a trip to the Etihad still pending. So, it will be important for Moyes’ men to build up some vital momentum ahead of the business end of the season.

Team News & Tactics

Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel could ring in a few changes after the Arsenal defeat. There are few players missing from action, as the Blues will again be without Antonio Rudiger and Mateo Kovacic for the West Ham clash.

The Chelsea manager could reinstate Thiago Silva at the back, who could start alongside the forgotten Trevoh Chalobah at the back. There could be a switch to a traditional back-four instead of a three-man defence. It could allow Marcos Alonso and Reece James to play traditional full-back roles.

Jorginho could come back into the side and play alongside the out-of-form N’Golo Kante in central midfield. It could allow Ruben Loftus-Cheek to play further ahead alongside Mason Mount as the attacking midfielder in a 4-2-2-2 setup.

Timo Werner put in a good shift against Arsenal and should again be handed the keys to lead the frontline against West Ham. Kai Havertz could be preferred in place of the out of sorts Romelu Lukaku.

Probable Lineup (4-2-2-2): Mendy; James, Chalobah, Silva, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante; Mount, Loftus-Cheek; Havertz, Werner

West Ham United

West Ham United may not have a long list of injured personnel, but they are missing a few important players. David Moyes is missing key central defenders Kurt Zouma and Issa Diop, which leaves him short of options in the position.

There’s only Craig Dawson as their recognised senior centre-half, which would force the manager to field a makeshift backline. Declan Rice is the obvious choice when it comes to playing central defence, while Aaron Cresswell and Vladimir Coufal should slot in at full-backs.

Moyes could field a midfield-five, with Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini supporting Tomas Soucek in the centre. Jarrod Bowen should be able to provide width down the right-hand side, with Said Benrahma taking a similar role on the left. Michail Antonio will be relied upon to finish chances and hold up the ball against a robust Chelsea defence.

Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Rice, Cresswell; Bowen, Fornals, Soucek, Lanzini, Benrahma; Antonio

Key Stats

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in 15 of their last 16 home matches against West Ham in all competitions.
  • Chelsea have lost their last three home games in the Premier League.
  • Chelsea have conceded eight goals at Stamford Bridge in April. They had let in as many between October to March at the venue.
  • West Ham United have lost their last three away games in the Premier League.
  • West Ham United have won only two of their last six games in the Premier League.

Player To Watch

Timo Werner

Embed from Getty Images

It has been a dreadful season for strikers at Chelsea. Despite having three top forwards in the squad, the Blues have struggled to get the best out of them. But Timo Werner has been making his case to Tuchel with impressive performances recently, as he was decent against Arsenal, scoring a goal, building on his displays against Southampton and Real Madrid.

Realistically, Chelsea are expected to keep hold of the third place until the end of the season. A player like Werner, with his goals, could go a long way to ensuring that happens comfortably. The German needs to step up in a big way and make up for what the team has missed all season.

Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 West Ham United

Both teams have had a rough patch recently, in particular, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Blues were sloppy throughout their clash against Arsenal, and West Ham could take lessons from that game. The Hammers have been unable to stitch together a consistent run of results in the league, and with one eye firmly placed on the Europa League journey, they may not look to go all out against the Blues.

Expect a cagey game at Stamford Bridge, with both teams likely to share the spoils.

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