Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Chelsea will look to maintain their 100% start to life under Maurizio Sarri in what should be a red-hot London derby against West Ham at the London Stadium. The Hammers endured an awful start to the season, losing their first four games, however victory over Everton last time out has seriously lifted the mood with new signing Andriy Yarmolenko showing the quality he has with two goals.
Yet, the visitors boast arguably the best player in the league in Eden Hazard and he will look to be the difference as the Blues look to match Liverpool’s perfect start and move back to the top. Sarri’s men have easily adapted to the style demanded by the Italian coach, with the side playing some great, easy on the eye football. However, Manuel Pellegrini’s team have enough about them to cause problems, particularly as they will be backed by a home crowd that will relish the hosts status as underdogs.
With that in mind, it promises to be a thrilling game in the capital city this afternoon and we could see goals.
West Ham United vs Chelsea Prediction: West Ham United 1-3 Chelsea
West Ham will be confident after the way they played against Everton – and rightly so. They were strong out of possession and worked hard, two qualities they don’t always possess. Then, they relied on the individual magic of Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic to win the game and if they maintain those standards they will challenge anyone in the league.
However, you have to worry about their consistency and if Chelsea play to their best then they have the superior players, few would argue with that. With Hazard in incredible form, he has the ability to take this game away from West Ham, whilst in Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, you could make a case to say the Blues have the best midfield in the league, or certainly in the top three. That’s where Sarri’s men will control the game and ultimately they should have too much for a Hammers side that haven’t convinced defensively this season.
Our recommended tip: Hazard score & Chelsea win
The little Belgian genius is the joint-top scorer in the Premier League and is starting to look like the player everyone knows he can be on a consistent basis. Sarri’s attack-minded approach has got the best out of the former Lille man who is enjoying playing with such freedom. The team is designed to get the best out of him and he will repay that with goals. He heads into this game on the back of a hat-trick and he was rested for the Europa League tie in the week so will be raring to go. As an added bonus, he is the penalty taker, so backing an away victory with Hazard to score could be the way to go.
This will be the 121st meeting between the sides and it’s one that Chelsea have slightly edged over the years, winning 49 times to West Ham’s 40. Whilst usually dominant at Stamford Bridge in recent years, the Blues haven’t enjoyed making the trip across London in the same period. Chelsea have actually lost three of their last four visits to West Ham, including at this stadium last season in a 1-0 defeat, courtesy of an Arnautovic goal.
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Players to watch: Andriy Yarmolenko & Eden Hazard
With Arnautovic a doubt, there could be even more responsibility on the Ukrainian who was so impressive at Goodison Park last week, but either way he will be crucial to the hosts chances. His ability from the right-flank, cutting in onto his left, is well-known but at his best he is hard to stop with his pace, skill and power. His battle with Marcos Alonso could be pivtoal in deciding the outcome of the game and if the hosts are to pull of something of a shock, the talented former Dortmund man needs to step up.
As for Chelsea, the key man is pretty clear. Hazard is the guy that transforms this team from a good side to an excellent one. He is the difference maker in the final third, with his incredible dribbling ability, skill and coolness in front of goal. With Manchester City and Liverpool looking pretty relentless this season, Chelsea know they can’t drop points and will need a big performance from Hazard to ensure they can move back to the top.