West Ham host Chelsea this weekend, looking for their second consecutive win.
After last Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park, the Hammers are going in search of their first home triumph of the season this time around.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men welcome the table-topping Blues at 1:30 on Sunday. We’ve got a match preview complete with head-to-head records, injury news, form guide and more…
In the Premier League era, West Ham have beaten Chelsea eight times at home in the league. On top of that, they have beaten Chelsea in both of their most recent visits to the London Stadium; taking in a 2-1 League Cup victory back in October 2016.
Another classic encounter came in 2012 when Sam Allardyce’s Hammers came from behind to beat Rafa Benitez’s Blues 3-1 – West Ham need more of the same on Sunday.
Chelsea have been flawless so far this season. Five wins from five Premier League game have put them top of the table, with a better goal difference than much-fancied Liverpool.
Despite making changes, Maurizio Sarri’s side secured a 1-0 away win against PAOK in the Europa League group stage, thanks to a goal from Willian.
As other sides have hogged the limelight, Chelsea have quietly enjoyed a very strong start to the season. They are swiftly getting to grips with Sarri’s ideas and look formidable already.
Sarri also has no long-term injuries to deal with. Cesc Fabregas is battling with a niggling issue, but will expect to be in the matchday 18.
Pedro picked up a knock on Thursday, but should be ready for Sunday’s game. Emerson Palmieri is ill, but Marcos Alonso’s form means he’ll only be on the bench anyway. Mateo Kovacic did not feature against PAOK but should return here.
For West Ham, Jack Wilshere will miss the game after undergoing ankle surgery that will keep him out for around six weeks. Talismanic striker Marko Arnautovic is a doubt and his understudy Javier Hernandez is still mysteriously ill with a virus.
Long-term absentees Winston Reid, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini remain sidelined.
You can’t look past Eden Hazard. He is the Premier League’s top scorer after his hat-trick against Cardiff last weekend and enjoyed a midweek rest; he sat out the trip to Greece altogether.
Chelsea will hope that means he’s fighting fit for Sunday and Pellegrini’s biggest headache is how to stop him; the pace of Ryan Fredericks or the experience of Pablo Zabaleta?
West Ham’s recent home record against Chelsea is decent, but the Blues are arguably playing the best football in the Premier League right now.
Belief is coursing through the Hammers after last weekend and they will rightly fancy themselves to get something.
Much will depend on Arnautovic’s fitness, but I’ll go for 1-1.