The London Stadium in Stratford plays host to a local derby match on Wednesday evening as we get the month of July off to a fascinating start. West Ham United host Chelsea from 20:15 GMT as part of a four-match fixture list from the top division of English football. The 2019/20 season will be played to a conclusion in the next three weeks. Get set for a thrilling finish.
This will be the second meeting of West Ham and Chelsea this season following a stunning win for the Hammers in the reverse of this fixture back in November. Written off by just about everyone with an interest in the Premier League, West Ham caused an upset when clinching a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Cresswell scored early in the second half. Followers of the east London side would dearly love to do the double over the Blues, damaging their chances of a top-three finish on the process.
Chelsea are battling for a place in next season’s Champions League but haven’t secured their slot just yet. Frank Lampard’s men are involved in a four-way tussle with Leicester, Man Utd and Wolves. Qualifying for UEFA’s elite could have a major impact on the funds available to Lampard during the summer transfer window. To give themselves the best chance of finishing third, Chelsea must secure revenge by recording what would be their 17th win of the campaign.
West Ham flirting with relegation
West Ham United can be found toiling in 17th place, one spot above the relegation zone. They have flirted with relegation numerous times in recent seasons but the threat of dropping down a division to the Championship is real and it’s something the locals must avoid at all costs. Playing Championship fixtures next season wouldn’t be the end for West Ham, but it would serve as a bitter blow to the club, especially to their bank balance. The hosts bring season stats of 7 wins and 6 draws against 18 defeats. They have scored 35 goals and conceded 54 which is four more than Bournemouth in the bottom three.
The struggling home side have suffered four defeats in their last five league games but did win the spare to keep their heads above water. The 27 points on the board means they enter this match level with Bournemouth in 18th and Aston Villa in 19th. A nervy few weeks lies ahead for followers of the Hammers, starting with this game against Chelsea who would be only too happy to stick the boot into their hosts. It’s a tough time to be loyal to the West Ham cause but three points here would seriously improve their chances of staying in the league.
West Ham returned from lockdown with a 2-0 home defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, a side chasing a top-four finish. That was a tough one to take but things went from bad to worse next time when Tottenham claimed a 2-0 win when hosting West Ham last Tuesday. An own goal from Soucek on 64 minutes was added to by a goal from Kane near the end. A decent effort from West Ham against one of the better sides in the league but it was another case of close but no cigar.
Chelsea beat Man City last time
Chelsea will take confidence from the recent form of their opponents but know they can’t afford to take anything for granted here. The Blues understand the Hammers are a wounded animal and if they take this game lightly, they could be made to pay. Defeat to a low ranking opponent would be a disaster for Chelsea so manager Lampard must ensure his squad are focussed and ready for the challenge. They will have to work for any joy that comes their way in midweek.
The visiting side travel across the city with their season stats showing 16 wins and 6 draws against 9 defeats. They have scored 55 goals and conceded 41 so far, which is 10 more goals leaked than Man Utd down in sixth. The Blues recent form is a real source of confidence to fans and they line-up for this game unbeaten in their last five league games, that run made up of four wins and a draw. The 54 points on the board means they are just one behind Leicester City in third but only two better than Wolves in fifth place.
We last saw Chelsea picking up what was their 16th win of the campaign last Thursday when beating last season’s Premier League winners Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. De Bruyne scored for the Cityzens but that effort was bettered by Pulisic and Willian. That emphatic win was followed with an FA Cup Sixth Round victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday. Barkley scored the only goal of the game on 63 minutes, keeping the Blues’ cup dreams alive. They have a chance to finish what has been a difficult season on a high by finishing third and winning the FA Cup.
West Ham vs Chelsea prediction
Chelsea enter this match on a fantastic run of form and are pushing for a top-three finish this season. They are up against an opponent fighting against relegation, level on points with second bottom of the league. On paper, Chelsea may be strong favourites to win this match and there won’t be too many football fans eager to argue against that.
West Ham do enjoy home advantage and although confidence is low in the camp, they can call on that win over Chelsea earlier in the campaign. The fact there has been one goal or less between these sides in 10 of their last 11 meetings tells us to expect another close contest and one that will keep viewers glued to the live TV coverage.
Premier League odds
The pre-match betting attached to this derby match has Chelsea priced as favourites for the points with 4/7. West Ham are 22/5 to score another famous win over their neighbours or there’s 33/10 on the draw.