In the 33rd round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League campaign, David Moyes’ West Ham United make the short journey to West London to face off with an under-pressure Antonio Conte and his Chelsea side in what promises to be an intriguing London derby.
The Blues go into the fixture off the back of a disappointing league loss to rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge last Sunday, while the Hammers claimed their first victory in almost two months in the PL a day earlier, defeating Southampton at London Stadium, the hosts are the slight favourites for this one.
The encounter is scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 8 April 2018), with a kick-off time of 4:30 PM BST and live television coverage in the United Kingdom being provided by Sky Sports on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event.
You can catch live radio commentary of the match on BBC Radio 5 Live, but if you don’t have access to a TV or radio device on Sunday afternoon, never fear, if you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter, you can be sure to find live build-up, updates and reaction from the matchup.
The visit of Moyes’ Hammers will be held at the Blues’ traditional home stadium of Stamford Bridge Stadium, the eighth largest in the Premier League with a capacity of just over 41,000.
The Bridge originally opened in April 1877, making it one of the oldest grounds in English football by some distance, the stadium’s record attendance being set all the way back in 1936 as over 82,000 for a match against Arsenal.
The West London venue has also hosted many other sporting events, including cricket and greyhound racing, not to mention England Internationals and three FA Cup finals, and plans are in place for a redevelopment over the next few years which will see it rebuilt and able to hold 60,000 spectators once again by 2023.
Tomorrow afternoon will be the remarkable 54th time that the East Londoners have journeyed to the old-fashioned arena and they haven’t won there since September 2002, losing out 2-1 to Eden Hazard and Diego Costa goals despite a James Collins strike on their last visit at the start of the 2016/2017 season.
Home manager Conte has a number of injury doubts prior to the clash with defenders David Luiz and youngster Ethan Ampadu almost certain to be sidelined, but there is some hope when it comes to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and attacker Pedro.
The Belgian shot-stopper has been out for some time through injury with Willy Caballero taking the gloves in the meantime while the comeback of the Spaniard Pedro could boost the home attack, his fellow countryman Alvaro Morata will be one of the danger men.
Meanwhile, visiting boss Moyes was dealt a major injury blow during last Saturday’s victory over the Saints with winger Michail Antonio coming off with a hamstring injury and needing surgery that will signal the end of his season.
Centre-back Collins will also miss another game while midfield playmaker Manuel Lanzini is in contention but unlikely to make the matchday squad, Antonio joined the likes of Sam Byram, Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang and Andy Carroll on the long-term injury list.
The first-teams of Chelsea and West Ham United have met previously a staggering 109 times in a London rivalry that has been being played out since 1923, an incredible 95 years ago.
Tomorrow’s hosts have the slight edge on the overall record with 49 victories to their name to the visitors’ 40 in that that time, the spoils and the points have been shared on just 20 occasions.
More recently, there has been very little to separate these two teams as they have each claimed the three points twice the last five meetings with just one draw, although the West London outfit did reign victorious in three of the five before that.
Last time out, at the London Stadium in early December 2017, the Irons picked up a narrow win thanks to a Marko Arnautovic finish inside the first ten minutes, the victory was significant in being the first of many for Moyes in East London and the start of Conte’s men’s downturn in form.
Chelsea Football Club was founded in 1905 and has enjoyed a steady rise to becoming one of England’s most celebrated and coveted teams ever since that day over 113 years ago.
The Pensioners’ biggest achievement so far surely came in 2012, when they triumphed in the UEFA Champions League, beating Bayern Munich in the final under Roberto Di Matteo at the Allianz Arena.
Aside from that, the West Londoners are the holders of six English Top-Flight Titles, five of them coming after the takeover by Russian owner Roman Abramovich, they have also won seven FA Cups, five League Cups, and a single Europa League, European Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
Nowadays, under former Italy boss Conte, the outfit are reigning Premier League Champions and currently sit fifth and five points off Spurs above in the table after an underwhelming defence of their title so far, a full 28 points away from current leaders Manchester City, but nevertheless, nine places and 23 points above this weekend’s opponents.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group referee Kevin Friend will be the man on the middle at the Bridge for the feisty affair, with the duo of Harry Lennard and Matthew Wilkes assisting him and fellow Premier League referee Neil Swarbrick acting as Fourth Official.
So, now that the Stamford Bridge scene has been well and truly set for an exciting afternoon of London derby action, will the Blues get back to winning ways and ease the pressure on their Italian manager?
Or, can the travelling Hammers cause a shock and a stir to further boost their chances of beating the drop to the Sky Bet Championship? Think you know? Head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your early score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.