West Ham United are set to host the league-leaders Chelsea at the Olympic Stadium this Sunday. This matchup is a tale of two opposites, as West Ham United have struggled to find their identity this season, while Chelsea are a reborn-powerhouse under the guidance of the new manager Maurizio Sarri.
West Ham United opened their English Premier League season with 4 consecutive defeats against Liverpool, Bournemouth, Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers. They finally have broken their negative streak, with a 1-3 away win at Everton and shown some potential for the rest of the season.
On the other hand, Chelsea had everything under control from the opening whistle of the EPL season. They quickly disposed of Huddersfield Town away, Arsenal at home, Newcastle United away, Bournemouth at home and Cardiff City at home. They have scored 14 goals in the first 5 matches and allowed only 4, enough for the second-best goal difference in the league, right after Manchester City.
The game will be played at the Olympic Stadium in London, where the Hammers have known nothing but defeat this season and are hoping to reverse that trend this Sunday. Although Chelsea are considered an away team in this one, the game is played in London so there will be almost no actual travel involved in this one.
West Ham United did win at the Olympic Stadium last season against Chelsea, defeating them 1-0. That was a different Chelsea team though, one that has quit on coach Antonio Conte and ended up finishing 6th in the EPL. The matchup between the two sides has been incredibly even in recent years. Out of the last 10 matches played between the two sides, West Ham have won 3, Chelsea 4 and 3 matches ended in a draw.
I have prepared a short breakdown of the match and some betting predictions, so feel free to read on.
West Ham United vs Chelsea Odds
- West Ham United 5.75
- Chelsea 55
- Draw 33
- Over 2.5 Goals 1.57
- Under 2.5 Goals 2.25
West Ham United vs Chelsea Pick
West Ham United have finally broken their 4-match losing streak by defeating Everton 1-3 at Goodison Park but this Sunday’s game will be a much tougher challenge for the Hammers. They will host the league-leaders Chelsea, who have run over their opponents and are sitting on a 5-match winning streak in the EPL.
To make the matters worse, West Ham United have been hit by an injury bug and will miss the services of forward Andy Carrol, midfielder Jack Wilshere, midfielder Manuel Lanzini and defender Winson Reid. All of them are yet to play for the Hammers this season. On top of that, their best goalscorers, Marko Arnautovic (knee injury) and Chicharito (illness) are both facing a fitness test for the game.
West Ham will have to do a much better job in the defense if they expect to steal a point or three away from Chelsea in this one. Their defense has already allowed 11 goals in the opening 5 matches and that will simply not cut it against Chelsea’s attack which has scored the league-leading 14 goals so far.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are only expected to miss Mateo Kovacic who has a thigh injury but there could be some rotations in the starting lineup this Sunday since they are coming off a tough UEFA Europa League game at PAOK on Thursday. Maurizio Sarri is fairly consistent and predictable in his lineups but still, Alvaro Morata or Willian might get a rest in this one.
Chelsea will seek to suffocate West Ham United’s midfield from the opening minute, as Jorginho and N’Golo Kante haunt their creative midfielders and try to restrict the ball movement and win the possession. This is where Chelsea are the most dangerous since they can quickly transition into a deadly attacking move with superstar talents like Hazard and Willian at the wings, who possess both the pace and the skill to take defenders 1-on-1 and create goal-scoring chances.
The Hammers are sure to look for their chances in the counter-attack. They do not have the quality in the midfield to duke it out with Chelsea so they will probably willingly hand over possession, as they focus on playing behind the ball and protecting their goal, before looking to strike on a counter-attack.
As it stands, I find it hard to look past Chelsea in this one. They have shown remarkable poise in the road games this season and this one should be no different in that aspect. That is why they are my pick in this matchup.