League leaders Chelsea kick-off the round of Boxing Day fixtures by taking on high-flying West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Friday. The Blues have a perfect home record thus far, but that is sure to be put to test in this London derby.
The visitors have been the surprise package of the season so far, and currently lie in 4th place in the table. Opponents have been looking for the bubble to burst for quite a while now, but Sam Allardyce’s men show no signs of stopping just yet. Summer signing Diafra Sakho has been a revelation, while the returning Andy Carroll has scored 4 goals in the last 3 games.
Jose Mourinho knows the threat the Hammers will possess, even though he was extremely critical of their style of play in this fixture last season. West Ham hardly got out of their own half, having ten men behind the ball all the time. Chelsea had more than 30 shots on goal, but were held to a 0-0 draw. This match was a big reason why the Blues missed out on the title at the end of the campaign.
With regards to team news for this one, there is a slight concern over the fitness of Eden Hazard. The Chelsea superstar got a kick on his Achilles towards the end of 2-0 victory against Stoke on Monday. He is though, expected to shake it off and play. A very busy period is coming up, so we may well see a couple of changes from the team that started on Monday. Oscar will almost certainly come in for John Obi Mikel, while there is also the slight possibility of Schurrle featuring ahead of Willian, even though this is unlikely.
Here is the possible Chelsea starting line-up vs West Ham United:
Chelsea are expected to learn from last season’s fixture which ended in such disappointment and frustration for them. They also have Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa in their ranks now and so breaking the stubborn West Ham United defence will not prove as difficult as it did last time. A comfortable home win is expected.
Chelsea 2-0 West Ham United