Preview – Chelsea v West Ham

By
Updated: August 14, 2016
Manchester United vs Chelsea

The first competitive match of the Antonio Conte era at Chelsea sees the Blues playing host to neighbors West Ham on Monday night, as they look to write off their previous season, the most abysmal title defense in Premier League history.

The visitors, on the other hand, are coming off a buoyant season and a productive summer where in addition to keeping hold of their star performer and French talisman from the EUROs, Dimitri Payet, they have also managed to secure the services of game-changers like André Ayew and Sophiane Feghouli, as well as former Blue Gokhan Tore, among others.

While the first match of the season could be too soon to see Chelsea the way Conte envisions it, it should lay down some markers as to how the midfield is expected to shape up, with summer signing Kante providing various options.

A red flag for Chelsea would be the lack of summer spending as compared to the other title rivals, especially the Manchester clubs. Chelsea are notoriously undermanned in defense, with only the likes of Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill and Azpilicueta available as the senior options for the manager going into the first game. The protracted transfer saga regarding SSC Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly has been heading nowhere and the club has a pressing need for defensive reinforcements in order to challenge for the title or make their return to the Champions League.

TEAM NEWS:

Chelsea are without the services of the injured Kurt Zouma and John Obi Mikel, who is in Rio with the Nigerian team. The Blues are expected to line up in a 4-3-3, with a back five of Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, a midfield three of Kante, Matic and Oscar and a front three of Willian and Hazard flanking Costa.

West Ham have a longer injury list, with Manuel Lanzini, Aaron Cresswell and Diafra Sakho ruled out and Payet and Tore not expected to play the full 90 minutes. However new signing Ayew is expected to slot right into the lineup, with Feghouli on the other side of Andy Carroll. How exactly Chelsea’s defense manages to handle the Hammers’ front three should be an intriguing watch.

Kick-off Monday 8pm BST

Venue Stamford Bridge

Last season CHE 2-2 WHU

Where to watch Check your local listings here

Referee Anthony Taylor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *