Date: Saturday 24th April 2021
Venue: London Stadium
Kick-off: 17:30 BST
After all the drama surrounding our last game, the build up to this one has felt somewhat subdued because we haven’t left ourselves in the position we should have been in to face West Ham today.
Last time out, they lost to Newcastle and in true Chelsea style, we failed to capitalise. The announcement of our withdrawal from the Super League coinciding with the need to get the Team buses through the gates, was met with enthusiasm in the street but the same level of enthusiasm wasn’t reflected on the pitch in a lethargic and lacklustre performance against Brighton that saw us struggle to come away with a point. It put us back in fourth place but only on goal difference and Liverpool could be above us by the time we kick-off today, so there’s no margin for anymore messing about, which is a shame given our starting XI changes more than the weather.
West Ham have taken 13 points from the last 15 at the London Stadium and are unbeaten in their last five London derbies and with just six games of the season left, they’ll refocus and look for three points after their recent loss, particularly with Lingard back. With Real Madrid coming up for us Tuesday, we can expect the usual tinkering again today and that might be the difference between us getting in the Champions League places and not this campaign.
Going into today’s game, West Ham manager David Moyes, says “He (Tuchel) has done unbelievably well, but I have to say I thought Frank Lampard had got together a really good squad of players. I think Frank Lampard was on the verge as well, there is something about being a young manager where you need to be given the opportunity for just a little bit longer to get really into it. So I think Frank has been a bit unlucky. But I have to say that I think Thomas Tuchel has come in and shown experience. He is a very experienced manager, to manage Dortmund and PSG you have to have very good qualities to manage at that level and he has shown that with Chelsea. I do think that Chelsea have arguably got the strongest squad in the Premier League so I don’t think it is a surprise to anybody that they are doing so well.”
Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, says “We expect a tough match. West Ham are a team who are very, very strong. Relies very strongly on counter-attacks, relies strongly on their solidarity and discipline in defence, which is the basis for very dangerous counter-attacking side. They’re relying on their set pieces which is a real, real threat. So the challenge is clear, we want to control the match, reduce critical ball losses to a minimum. We want to close the spaces very intelligently before counter-attacks can even start, to close them down before they start and give away as few set pieces as possible. That’s the plan, a lot of things to do and it’s a big challenge for tomorrow’s game.”
For West Ham, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio are still out, Arthur Masuaku is a doubt and Craig Dawson is suspended. Typically, Jesse Lingard is fit and Aaron Cresswell (hamstring) is also hopeful for a return.
For Chelsea, Mateo Kovacic (hamstring) remains out. Edouard Mendy will be recalled to the starting line-up and whilst the only player to score more than three competitive goals for Chelsea under Tuchel is Mason Mount, Tammy still won’t get a game.
WEST HAM (Possible line-up): Fabianski; Ogbonna, Diop, Balbuena; Coufal, Soucek, Noble, Johnson; Fornals; Bowen, Lingard
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Mount; Werner, Pulisic
CURRENT FORM (PL)
WEST HAM: WLDWWL
- This is the 100th top-flight meeting.
- Chelsea were 3-0 winners at Stamford Bridge in December.
- West Ham have won 16 games this season.
- West Ham have the division’s second best home record this season (31 pts).
- West Ham’s only win in 11 league games this season against the established top six was at home to Spurs in February.
- Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in 15 of their last 20 matches in all competitions.
- Chelsea have won 3 London derby away wins this season.
BBC Sport: West Ham 0-2 Chelsea
Sportsmole: West Ham 1-1 Chelsea