EPL: Chelsea host Hammers in London derby

first_imgRelatedPosts Mane double eases Liverpool to win over 10-man Chelsea EPL: Chelsea, Liverpool in cagey duel EPL: Gunners gun for West Ham scalp Chelsea vs. West Ham UnitedVenue: Stamford BridgeKick off: 4PMChelsea play host to West Ham United in the Premier League this afternoon looking to return to winning ways after last weekend’s defeat to Manchester City.While there would have been times this season when Frank Lampard would have felt encouraged by the development of his backline, the 2-2 draw in Valencia on Wednesday evening has thrown up a lot more questions than answers.The result itself has left Chelsea requiring a win over Lille to qualify for the Champions League last 16, but there is little doubting that Lampard would have been relieved to return to London with a share of the spoils.On another day, Chelsea would have conceded at least double the amount of goals, partly due to their lack of game management during the closing stages, something which Lampard alluded to at the full-time whistle.Despite keeping a clean sheet against Crystal Palace before the international break, the Blues have now conceded eight goals in four outings, and Lampard must reassess the make-up of his defence heading into an important period of the campaign.On the plus side, Chelsea are continuing to create opportunities at the other end, and Lampard will feel that there will come a time when everything clicks for his team in the final third.Christian Pulisic has starred since earning a recall to the starting lineup, although there is now pressure on Michy Batshuayi to step up in the probable absence of Tammy Abraham, who suffered a hip injury in midweek.Across 11 substitute appearances in the Premier League and Champions League, the Belgium international has featured for just 148 minutes, scoring goals against Southampton and Ajax respectively.While Abraham will likely come back into the team once he is fit, Batshuayi will probably not get a better opportunity to stake his claim for a regular spot in this developing Chelsea side.On the other hand, despite having high hopes for his team ahead of his second campaign at the London Stadium, Manuel Pellegrini knows that another negative result this weekend may result in his exit from the Hammers.A seven-match winless streak in the Premier League, which has included five defeats, has left West Ham in 17th position in the standings, just three points above the relegation zone.For large parts of last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur, the east London side looked short of confidence, with the visitors looking likely to score each time that they pressed forward.While West Ham conceded three goals for the third match in succession, it could have been far worse, and Pellegrini is aware that he is on the brink of losing his job in the dugout.Nevertheless, the Chilean still possesses plenty of quality in his squad, and there will be a feeling that a clash with Chelsea may be the ideal contest to rediscover their form.Poor first-half performances have frequently undermined West Ham’s efforts in recent weeks, with four of their last seven opponents having opened the scoring in the 17th minute or earlier.Despite Chelsea being renowned for making fast starts, that threat may lead to West Ham being focused from the opening whistle and provide them with the correct mentality to gain a foothold in the game.Should that not materialise, however, and Chelsea run out convincing victors, the club’s hierarchy may opt to end Pellegrini’s unsuccessful reign while they remain out of the bottom three. Chelsea possible XI: Arrizabalaga, James, Zouma, Tomori, Palmieri, Jorginho, Kante, Pedro, Mount, Pulisic, Batshuayi.West Ham United possible XI: Roberto, Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Cresswell, Noble, Rice, Sanchez, Antonio, Anderson, Haller.Tags: ChelseaEPLWest Ham Unitedlast_img read more