Chelsea Preview vs West Ham United

Chelsea return from Greece to visit the Olympic Stadium to take on Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers at 12:30pm on Sunday.

The Blues started their European campaign with a 1-0 victory over PAOK on Thursday night to make it six wins from six, but there is a danger of a continental hangover.

Maurizio Sarri rested Eden Hazard for the journey following his hat-trick against Cardiff, and the Premier League top scorer should be in perfect fitness to face West Ham.

However, Emerson and Mateo Kovacic are doubts for the match, as the Brazilian has an illness and the Real Madrid loanee suffered a dead leg.

One player who returned to full fitness for the Blues is Cesc Fabregas, who played his first game of the season on Thursday night.

West Ham also have some doubts for the match, Marko Arnautovic will have to pass a late fitness test, while Javier Hernandez, Winston Reid, Jack Wilshire, Manuel Lanzini and, as ever, Andy Carroll are all unavailable.

The Irons have had a less than convincing start to the season, picking up their first points last weekend following a win over Everton.

Pellegrini spent over £100 Million over the summer and the expectation for his side to give performances against the so-called “top six” has never been higher, so Sarri will have to be wary of this week’s opponents.

The Italian is unlikely to make any dramatic technical changes to the squad however and will almost certainly stick with his favourite 4-3-3.

 

CHELSEA PREDICTED LINE-UP, 4-3-3

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Marcos Alonso

Barkely, Kante, Jorginho,

Hazard, Giroud, Willian.

David Luiz and Hazard didn’t travel to Greece and should be fit to start, but I expect Ross Barkely to replace the injured Kovacic. It’s probably too early for Fabregas to play two fixtures in one week.

After his two assists last week and Morata’s failure to find any sort of form, I think Giroud will start up front.

 

As for West Ham, it’s possible they will line up with five in midfield.

WEST HAM PREDICTED LINE-UP, 4-1-4-1.

Fabianski

Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Cresswell

Sanchez

Yarmolenko, Noble, Obiang, Felipe Anderson

Arnautovic.

Andrey Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson have the ability to cause Chelsea real problems and West Ham could really use Arnautovic should he pass his fitness test.

Should the Austrian fail, the chances are Lucas Perez would make his first start for the club.

With the Hammers’ injury crisis and their poor form, I would expect Chelsea to continue their winning form, however, the Blues will slip up eventually and this could be the game.

Despite this, I will follow Sky Bet who have priced Chelsea at 8/15 favourites and go with a 1-3 victory for Chelsea.

 

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