In the past couple of seasons, matches between West Ham and Chelsea had an extra little bite to it with European qualification at stake for both sides, but this season’s game could have extra bite for different reasons, with West Ham trying to steer clear of the relegation zone and Chelsea trying to close the gap on European places.
With the help of cup competitions, West Ham have found a little bit of form as of late, losing only once in their last six games in all competitions, winning three times and keeping three clean sheets.
Whilst West Ham have got themselves into the 5th round of the FA Cup, alleviating some pressure from David Moyes on his job status, their league form is still not a good sight, with their only win in their past nine games being against Frank Lampard’s Everton, with this run including six losses and one clean sheet.
West Ham’s massive struggle this season has been in front of goal, scoring only 18 goals in 21 matches, compared to last season where they scored 39 goals in 21 games, with their summer attacking signings Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scammacca only combining for five league goals this season after costing £71 million.
Chelsea’s struggles this season compared to last are similar to West Ham as they are also struggling for goals, only scoring 22 in 21 league games, compared to 45 last season, and only five goals in their past nine league games.
The lack of league goals leaves them 9th in the league, nine points of Tottenham for a place in the Europa League with just two wins in 12 games, putting early pressure on Graham Potter, especially with the extreme spending in both the summer and winter transfer windows.
The bright light recently for Chelsea has been the introduction of French centre-back Benoit Badiashile, who has excelled in his short time at the club, playing three games and keeping three clean sheets and seemingly striking up a good partnership with the vastly experienced Thiago Silva.
This will be the first matchup of what could be many meetings and great battles between 22-year-old Enzo Fernandez and 24-year-old Declan Rice, with the eyes being on how the new record Premier League signing copes with one of the best and consistent players in the Premier League.
Recent matchups between West Ham and Chelsea have been very close, with 16 of their last 17 meetings being decided by a single goal or a draw and unsurprisingly it has been Chelsea who has got the better of the matchups recently, winning four of the last five meetings, including the highly controversial matchup at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.
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