Chelsea will look to bounce back from their disappointing midweek loss to Southampton when they square off against London rivals West Ham United on Saturday afternoon. The Blues have invested more than 250 million pounds in new players in the just concluded summer transfer window and will be keen to send across a statement of intent to the rest of the league.
The last couple of days of the window saw the Londoners acquire Wesley Fofana from Leicester and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona and also Denis Zakaria on loan from Juventus. Marcos Alonso was allowed to leave and so was youngster Billy Gilmour. The Blues also activated youngster Arsen Zakharyan’s 15 million euro release clause at Dynamo Moscow, but the transfer fell through because of government regulations. This game is expected to come too soon for both Zakaria and Aubameyang, but Fofana could be in line for a debut.
For a team expected to challenge for the title, Thomas Tuchel’s men have begun shakily- they have picked up just 7 points from five games and are already eight behind league leaders Arsenal. It probably also explains why the club’s new owners were ready to invest heavily in the transfer market.
While Chelsea may have begun shakily, West Ham have had a worse start to the season. They lost their first three games of the campaign (without scoring a single goal) and only managed a 1-0 win over struggling Villa in Week 4. They were slightly better against Spurs in midweek, especially in the second half where they came from behind to draw 1-1, but two goals in five games is not really what you’d expect from a team who will be aiming to be in the European places at the end of the season.
Chelsea’s home form has also been decent- they’re unbeaten at the Bridge so far, and that probably explains why PowerPlay and other bookmakers expected the Blues to edge this clash. West Ham, like Chelsea, have also invested heavily in the market, but are still working on developing a system, with David Moyes alternating between playing 4 and 5 at the back so far.
Victory for the Hammers will see them go level on points with Chelsea in the league table. Moyes will be without Ben Johnson and there are doubts over Aaron Cresswell and Gianluca Scamacca. Angelo Ogbonna replaced Cresswell in the second half against Spurs while Michail Antonio deputised (and quite well at that!) for Scamacca in midweek.
Against Spurs, West Ham started with two central defenders, but finished the fixture with 3 at the back and two wingbacks. Pablo Fornals, usually an attacking midfielder by trade, spent plenty of time defending at wing back before he was replaced by Emerson Palmieri. Lucas Paqueta came off the bench and had a pretty decent outing and the Brazilian could’ve even had a dream debut at the end with a late goal but for some miscommunication between him and Emerson that left Spurs off the hook.
Last five games at the Bridge between these two teams
Chelsea 1-0 West Ham
Chelsea 3-0 West Ham
Chelsea 0-1 West Ham
Chelsea 2-0 West Ham
Chelsea 1-1 West Ham