West Ham United vs Chelsea
Venue: London Stadium
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
Referee: Mike Dean
Chelsea will look to continue their fantastic start to the season against a struggling West Ham side, but one fresh off the back of their first win of the season. Can the Hammers build upon their momentum or will Sarri’s men simply have too much when the two sides meet at the London Stadium?
West Ham will be looking to make it six points from six after they comprehensively beat Everton at Goodison Park last weekend, courtesy of a brace from Andrey Yarmalenko and yet another goal from their talisman Marko Arnautovic.
Chelsea, however, will provide a stern test for Pellegrini’s side as they sit top of the table with maximum points, after making a blistering start to life under the ‘Sarri-ball’ philosophy that the 59 year-old Italian has brought to Stamford Bridge.
The Hammers hold a respectable home record against Chelsea, winning three of their last six, but this season the West London outfit seem to have been given a new lease of life; Sarri truly seems to have rejuvenated a downtrodden squad and is reaping the rewards.
If Chelsea take the three points back across London then they will maintain their perfect record, whereas West Ham, sitting in 16th with only three points on the board, could well slip into the relegation zone if one of the teams below them pick up points and the Hammers fail to do so.
It may only be early season but if West Ham are to be involved in a relegation battle, then every single point will be vital, whether they are picked up now or towards the business end of the season in April.
West Ham United
Three players currently considered to be an area of concern for West Ham are Jack Wilshere, Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic. The former is definitely out with what is looking like a serious ankle injury, whereas there is a strong chance the latter two may well be fit enough to face Chelsea this weekend.
Along with this, Carroll, Fernandes, Hugill, Lanzini, and Reid are all also on the sidelines for the Hammers.
The Wilshere injury will be a big blow for West Ham as a potential front four of Wilshere sat behind Arnautovic, with Yarmolenko and Anderson on the wings is unquestionably a frightening prospect for any Premier League backline.
Last time out against Everton, West Ham came away with a 3-1 win but it was Yarmolenko who really excelled and announced his arrival in the Premier League with a well-taken brace. If he can keep up that electric form he may cause Chelsea some issues.
After scraping through their Europa League tie against PAOK Salonika with a 1-0 win, Sarri will be satisfied that his decision to leave Eden Hazard at home has not had severe ramifications, and the Belgian will be expected to start on Sunday against the Hammers.
Chelsea are lucky in that there are no other injuries for Sarri to concern himself with, so therefore it is likely that he will continue to pick the same eleven he has so far in the Premier League. Barkley, Fabregas, and Loftus-Cheek remain considerations for the starting XI, but with the Blues’ perfect start it is unlikely the Sarri will seek to fix what is yet to be broken.
The club itself will be bouncing, not only off its perfect start, but also from the news that Welsh midfielder and hot prospect Ethan Ampadu has signed a new five-year deal and could well be the future of Chelsea football club.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
West Ham: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Noble, Rice, Obiang; Yarmolenko, Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson.
Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.
Prediction: West Ham United 0 Chelsea 2
I can’t see West Ham getting anything from this game. They may have put in a good performance last week against Everton, but Chelsea are a different kettle of fish. The Blues have been fantastic this season and while they may be tired from a mid-week trip to Greece, I still see them coming away with the three points.