Chelsea will be travelling for the second time to the London Stadium this season to face a revived West Ham United in the late kick-off on Monday and given their form, they are surely the favourites. With Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal all playing before them, the Blue Brigade will have to make sure they retain their 10-point lead at the top of the table and keep the task simple for the next 11 games.
Chelsea have lost only twice in their last 21 Premier League games against the Hammers and on paper, the West London club looks strong enough to beat Slaven Bilic’s side. However, West Ham United had eliminated Chelsea from the EFL Cup’s fourth stage this stage at the London Stadium, which makes the venue a complication for Conte’s men.
Conte has lost two of his three away London derbies, against Arsenal and Tottenham, since taking Chelsea’s reins this summer, with Crystal Palace being the only exception. West Ham United are currently in the ninth position in the league table collecting 33 points from 26 games so far. While catching up with West Bromwich Albion, who are above them with 40 points, is unlikely; Bilic would expect the team to stay above Stoke City, who are breathing on their neck with 32 points.
Predicted 3-4-2-1 Chelsea Line-Up To Face West Ham United
Thibaut Courtois starts under the bar. The back three remains unchanged with no injuries and suspensions incurred in the last game. Garry Cahill, Caesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz are expected to take their positions there. The back line hardly had any threat to cover for in their last game against Swansea City and with West Ham United without their main player, Michail Antonio, for this game further reduces their worries.
However, West Ham attackers Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini are specialised in scoring in London derbies. Carroll, who is one goal away from his 50th Premier League strike, has scored five goals in his three home London derbies in the league. And Lanzini has scored seven of his 11 league goals in London derbies, which makes the task tricky for Chelsea’s defensive trio.
Cesc Fabregas is highly likely to take his place in the central midfield alongside N’Golo Kante. The Spaniard has recorded 102 league assists in 300 appearances and he needs just one more to outscore Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard. The wing-backs would be Victor Moses and Marcus Alonso.
The attacking midfielders will be Pedro and Eden Hazard. Pedro got the all-important second goal for Chelsea last game after Swansea City had got back the equaliser. Diego Costa will spearhead the attack.