With five wins from five league games this season, Chelsea top the table ahead of a match against one of their fiercest rivals. West Ham ended a disastrous start to their league campaign – four straight losses – by winning at Everton last Saturday.
Chelsea have scored at least two goals in each of their league games so far this season but have kept just two clean sheets. West Ham have scored five goals so far in the league this season and conceded eleven; they have yet to keep a clean sheet.
Eden Hazard has scored five league goals this season, including a hat-trick against Cardiff last Saturday, plus two in two games for Belgium since the World Cup. Pedro has scored three league goals this season and is another player to have benefitted from manager Maurizio Sarri’s attacking set-up.
Marko Arnautovic leads the way for West Ham this season with three goals followed by Andriy Yarmolenko, who bagged a brace against Everton and seems to have settled in well for The Hammers since his move from Borussia Dortmund.
In the last ten league meetings at West Ham between these sides, Chelsea have won six times, West Ham have won three times and there has been just one draw (1-1, in 2009).
Chelsea have failed to score just once in those ten matches – last year when, to be blunt, they were a side in disarray. West Ham have failed to score in four of them and both teams have scored in five of the ten games. Five of the last seven matches have produced over 2.5 goals.
Under Sarri’s attack-minded style, Chelsea have been potent this season, with Eden Hazard looking particularly good. This said, the centre of their defence is creating cause for concern so West Ham will be more than hopeful of scoring and their confidence will be high following their win at Everton. However, their defence is also looking far from solid.
Chelsea travelled to Greece on Thursday and came away with a 1-0 Europa League win over PAOK Salonika. Will the trip have affected them come Sunday, as it seems to with many teams that play in the competition? Such was Chelsea’s dominance against PAOK that you would think that the impact will be minimal and, after all, winning breeds confidence.
West Ham – Marko Arnautovic limped off at Everton and, if absent, would be a big loss to The Hammers. Reports on Friday suggested that he would miss the game. Jack Wilshere will be out for at least five weeks following minor ankle surgery.
Chelsea – Cesc Fabregas is fit again and got a run-out in Greece. Ruben Loftus-Cheek had been struggling with a slight tibia problem but made the bench on Thursday so should be okay. Eden Hazard was rested for the Europa League match – as were David Luiz and Mateo Kovacic, who limped off in the second-half on Saturday but his injury has been reported to be ‘nothing serious’ – but Hazard is expected to play on Sunday.
Pedro is unlikely to feature after picking up a shoulder knock in Greece.
Over 2.5 goals in the game looks likely, although it is pretty short at 11/20, so both teams to score and for there to be over 2.5 goals in the match could provide better value at 17/20.
A Chelsea win is suggested, with scores of 2-1 (7/1) or 3-1 (10/1) recommended.
Quoted prices correct as of 16:07 21/09/18