David Moyes makes two big West Ham changes for Chelsea but resists calls to axe one star in our predicted line-up ahead of London derby.
Like Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola before him, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has been talking up West Ham ahead of Chelsea’s trip to the London Stadium.
Moyes has quickly built a side capable of competing towards the top end of the table in the last couple of seasons.
The Hammers missed out on fourth spot – and a place in the Champions League – to Chelsea by a solitary win last season.
Now Moyes has challenged his players to make up those points this season.
Chelsea currently lead the way with over a third of the season gone.
West Ham have stuttered of late and are clinging on to their place in the top four ahead of the visit of Tuchel’s side for the lunchtime kick-off.
Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool appear to be on a different level to everybody else this season.
But a win for West Ham would see them close the gap on their London rivals to six points as we close in on the halfway stage of the campaign.
The performance and last gasp nature of the draw with Brighton in midweek was hugely disappointing for West Ham.
They will need to be much improved if they are to stand a chance of getting any change from Chelsea.
To that end Moyes looks set to make two big West Ham changes for Chelsea but will resist calls to axe one star.
Moyes makes two big changes for Chelsea but resists calls to axe star?
Moyes delivered a positive update on Aaron Cresswell in his pre-match press conference after he was forced to sit out the Brighton draw with a sore back.
So it seems likely the Liverpudlian will return to the starting line-up in place of young Ben Johnson.
The academy graduate has been brilliant since establishing himself in the West Ham side.
But Vladimir Coufal looked back to his best against Brighton and offers more going forward than Johnson.
So – unless Moyes goes for five at the back again – Johnson will drop out for Cresswell.
The other big change will see Manuel Lanzini replace the disappointing Said Benrahma. The change comes a game too late in all honesty with many expecting Lanzini to come into the side in place of the Algerian against Brighton.
When the Argentine did replace Benrahma once again as a substitute he was West Ham’s best player.
Moyes will resist calls from some fans to axe defender Craig Dawson and bring in Issa Diop.
Supporters believe Diop deserves a chance to prove himself again alongside Kurt Zouma.
If West Ham had another striker you can almost guarantee Michail Antonio would be dropped for the Chelsea game.
The flagging forward will have to dust himself down and – like much of the team – try to rediscover his form for the visit of the Blues.
Predicted West Ham starting XI to face Chelsea:
Fabianski, Coufal, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Fornals, Lanzini, Bowen, Antonio.