Premier League: Chelsea vs West Ham preview


Defending champions Chelsea are looking to get themselves back together after a string of poor results when they face fellow London side West Ham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. The Hammers have won the reverse fixture in December, it ended 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Marko Arnautovic. West Ham have beaten Chelsea quite often lately, three times in the last six meetings in all competitions, but none of those victories was at Stamford Bridge. In fact, the Hammers have not won at Stamford Bridge since 2002.

Chelsea have suffered a painful 3-1 defeat at home against Tottenham last weekend and that result puts them eight points behind the Spurs in the race for fourth place. The Blues have lost three of their last four Premier League matches, got knocked out of the Champions League, but did manage to advance to the FA Cup semi-finals. At this point Chelsea have to win all their remaining seven Premier League matches and hope for the best, but it is quite likely they will finish outside the top four anyway. Thibaut Courtois missed last week's match with a hamstring injury but he might recover in time for Sunday's game, while Ross Barkley and David Luiz remain out of contention.

West Ham got themselves a big breath of fresh air last weekend, they defeated fellow relegation candidates Southampton 3-0 and moved up to 14th place, five points clear of relegation. However, a few consecutive defeats could see the hammers slide back down towards the danger zone, so they will surely want to take advantage of Chelsea's poor form and put some more points on the board. Michail Antonio picked up a serious injury last week and will be out for the rest of the season, but Manuel Lanzini should recover in time for Sunday's game.

Probable line-ups:

Chelsea: Courtois - Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger - Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso - Willian, Hazard - Morata

West Ham: Hart - Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell - Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Massuaku - Mario, Lanzini - Arnautovic

My prediction: 1-1 draw.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Chelsea win - 1.28
Draw - 6.00
West Ham win - 12.00

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