West Ham host Chelsea in the English Premier League on Sunday. The Hammers lost key man Declan Rice in the summer and began the season with a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth. The Blues have signed Moises Caicedo this week and played out a 1-1 home stalemate with Liverpool in their opener. West Ham have only just once in six home fixtures against Chelsea.
West Ham Form
The Hammers finished 14th last season and just six points above the relegation zone. They also won the Europa Conference League to lift their first silverware in 43 years. That success means they will play in this year’s Europa League. West Ham won two of their four league matches last season, beating Man Utd 1-0 and Leeds 3-1 at home. On the final day, they lost to already-relegated Leicester City.
Their European final saw a 2-1 win against Fiorentina as Jarod Bowen scored a last-minute winner for David Moyes’ side. Their preseason results were mixed and included a 4-0 loss at Bayer Leverkusen. The league season saw a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth in their opener. West Ham led 1-0 with 10 minutes to play and will be disappointed to have dropped two points.
West Ham Team News
West Ham have a clean bill of health. Declan Rice may have gone but both James Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez have joined to boost central midfield. One of those could start alongside Tomas Soucek with Lucas Paqueta moving to a number ten role. Pablo Fornals would drop the bench.
The rest of the XI is set to remain the same with Kurt Zouma captaining the side at centre back. Danny Ings and Max Cornet will be the main impact subs. Alphonse Areola is the number one in goal this season with Lukas Fabianski on the bench.
West Ham Motivation
Moyes’ side only had 37% of the ball in their opening match. They could similarly play this one despite being at home.
They will try to play with intensity but the main focus will be compactness and fast transitions using Bowen and Antonio. They will play to win but won’t see a draw a bad result against a side like Chelsea.pponent (and Moyes’ former club), West Ham will play a high-energy game and look for three points.
Last season was a disaster for the Blues as they ended in 12th place. The end of the season was dire with the final 12 Premier League matches only bringing one win. Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter were both sacked and things didn’t get any better under Frank Lampard as his first six fixtures were all losses.
The one victory he achieved was a 3-1 win at Bournemouth. The final four fixtures brought two losses and two draws at home, including 1-1 vs. Newcastle on the final day. New coach Mauricio Pochettino oversaw a strong preseason. His first league match brought a credible 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge versus Liverpool. The Blues dominated the second half.
Chelsea Team News
Mauricio Pochettino has seen Reece James pick up an injury this week. He could miss several weeks of action so Malo Gusto is the favourite to deputise. Another option is to play Axel Disasi at right back in this one. Moises Caicedo signed on Monday and is set to make his debut from the start alongside Enzo Fernandez.
Armando Broja and Christopher Nkunku are injured in the attack. Wesley Fofana and Benoit Badiashile miss out in defence. Nicolas Jackson will lead the line and Mykhailo Mudryk could get a start if the side switches to a back four with an extra spot opening up for an attacker.
Chelsea will play to win this game. The approach will be seen partly by whether Pochettino plays a back three or a back four. If he goes to a back four, then his side will play a more attacking game.
A second draw of the season would be seen as a poor result. They won’t settle for a point at one stage in this match.
WHU have lost just 1 of their last 6 home matches vs. Chelsea (with 3 wins)
West Ham have lost 2 of their last 10 home PL matches (vs. Newcastle and Liverpool)
West Ham have conceded 10 goals in their last 5 league matches at home
Chelsea have lost 9 of their last 14 matches in all competitions
Chelsea’s last 14 away EPL matches have seen just 2 wins
Chelsea’s last 6 away EPL matches have produced 19 goals (8 scored, 11 conceded)
This match is tough to call with both sides still sorting out their squads. Chelsea looked the more impressive in their opener and could be boosted by Caicedo’s arrival. It’s not clear where the goals will come from for the visitors but they should have enough to score once and keep a clean sheet.