Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Fresh from a rare defeat last weekend, fourth-placed Chelsea will hope to get their league season back on the winning trail this Saturday afternoon with the visit of a West Ham side that has entered a dramatic tailspin. The Blues will be playing the third of a run of three matches in six days, having drawn 2-2 at Valencia in midweek – a game in which they saw prolific striker Tammy Abraham helped off the pitch with a hip injury.
Two months ago, after defeating Manchester United 2-0, West Ham sat in fifth place and boss Mauricio Pellegrino stated that they were becoming “more consistent and more solid”. Since then, they’ve played seven Premier League games and not won a single one, while also losing 4-0 in the Carabao Cup at Oxford. Six losses in eight is pretty consistent, but the Hammers have dropped to 17th place, which can’t have been in their plans.
Chelsea vs West Ham Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 West Ham
Different people have different definitions of “crisis”, but it’s probably fair to say that falling 3-0 behind at home to Newcastle fits into any of those. From a promising beginning to their season, West Ham have fallen off a cliff recently, leaving Pellegrini’s jacket on the shakiest of pegs. The standard step at this point in the managerial sacking tango is a courageous yet futile performance in defeat, something that West Ham are more than capable of – and with Chelsea’s balsa-wood defence, the visitors may even nick a goal here.
Our recommended tip: Michy Batshuayi FGS
Deprived of his annual stint on loan at another club by Chelsea’s transfer ban, Batshuayi would probably have cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines at Stamford Bridge this season, if he knew how to be frustrated. The disarming positivity the Belgian carries with him means that when he is on the pitch, he’s always alive to opportunities. He’s likely to find a fair few openings this afternoon against the West Ham backline – which, let’s remember, conceded three goals to Newcastle last time out. Paddy Power have him at 7/2 to score first – which is a fine bet if he stands in for Abraham.
The last time West Ham made the short trip to Stamford Bridge, two goals from Eden Hazard made all the difference as the hosts won 2-0. The second of his two finishes came on 90 minutes, which makes the game appear a lot closer than it was. In truth, Hazard could have beaten the Hammers all on his own – which, to the onlooker, it rather looked like he did. Along with the brace of goals, the Belgian winger was denied what appeared to be a stonewall penalty as the visiting defence resolutely failed to get to grips with him all afternoon.
Top 3 Premier League Bookies
Players to watch: Christian Pulisic & Sebastien Haller
It may well be faint praise to say that Pulisic looks likely to become the best footballer the United States has ever turned out. The facts indicate that he might already have attained that station with his standout performances in the yellow of Borussia Dortmund. Since arriving at Chelsea, he’s continued to make an impact, with a key goal against Valencia his sixth in 16 games – an excellent return for an attacking midfielder.
It would be a shame if the collective underperformance of West Ham’s overall squad this season were to leave Sebastien Haller looking like an expensive flop. The French striker scored 33 in 77 for Eintracht Frankfurt, persuading the Hammers to part with a club-record £45million for his signature. With his pace, height and composure, he’s a real threat in the penalty area when he gets decent service. It’s that last part that’s proven hard to come by so far in his Premier League career.