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Preview: Chelsea vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League fixture between Chelsea and West Ham United.

Chelsea play host to West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon looking to return to winning ways after last weekend's defeat to Manchester City.

Meanwhile, the Hammers make the short trip across London having failed to record victory in any of their last eight matches in all competitions.


Chelsea

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard pictured on November 2, 2019© Reuters

While there would have been times this season when Frank Lampard would have felt encouraged by the development of his backline, the 2-2 draw in Valencia on Wednesday evening has thrown up a lot more questions than answers.

The result itself has left Chelsea requiring a win over Lille to qualify for the Champions League last 16, but there is little doubting that Lampard would have been relieved to return to London with a share of the spoils.

On another day, Chelsea would have conceded at least double the amount of goals, partly due to their lack of game management during the closing stages, something which Lampard alluded to at the full-time whistle.

Despite keeping a clean sheet against Crystal Palace before the international break, the Blues have now conceded eight goals in four outings, and Lampard must reassess the make-up of his defence heading into an important period of the campaign.

On the plus side, Chelsea are continuing to create opportunities at the other end, and Lampard will feel that there will come a time when everything clicks for his team in the final third.

Christian Pulisic has starred since earning a recall to the starting lineup, although there is now pressure on Michy Batshuayi to step up in the probable absence of Tammy Abraham, who suffered a hip injury in midweek.

Across 11 substitute appearances in the Premier League and Champions League, the Belgium international has featured for just 148 minutes, scoring goals against Southampton and Ajax respectively.

While Abraham will likely come back into the team once he is fit, Batshuayi will probably not get a better opportunity to stake his claim for a regular spot in this developing Chelsea side.

Recent form: WWWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): LWDWLD


West Ham United

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini on August 31, 2019© Reuters

Despite having high hopes for his team ahead of his second campaign at the London Stadium, Manuel Pellegrini knows that another negative result this weekend may result in his exit from the Hammers.

A seven-match winless streak in the Premier League, which has included five defeats, has left West Ham in 17th position in the standings, just three points above the relegation zone.

For large parts of last weekend's 3-2 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur, the East London side looked short of confidence, with the visitors looking likely to score each time that they pressed forward.

While West Ham conceded three goals for the third match in succession, it could have been far worse, and Pellegrini is aware that he is on the brink of losing his job in the dugout.

Nevertheless, the Chilean still possesses plenty of quality in his squad, and there will be a feeling that a clash with Chelsea may be the ideal contest to rediscover their form.

Poor first-half performances have frequently undermined West Ham's efforts in recent weeks, with four of their last seven opponents having opened the scoring in the 17th minute or earlier.

Despite Chelsea being renowned for making fast starts, that threat may lead to West Ham being focused from the opening whistle and provide them with the correct mentality to gain a foothold in the game.

Should that not materialise, however, and Chelsea run out convincing victors, the club's hierarchy may opt to end Pellegrini's unsuccessful reign while they remain out of the bottom three.

Recent form: LLDLLL
Recent form (all competitions): LLDLLL


Team News

Chelsea's Tammy Abraham receives medical attention after sustaining an injury against Valencia on November 27, 2019© Reuters

With Abraham likely to miss out with a hip injury, Batshuayi should get the nod over Olivier Giroud in attack.

Given the short turnaround, Lampard could make several alterations to his starting lineup, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen potentially dropping out of the backline.

Mason Mount could also come in for Mateo Kovacic, who looked heavily fatigued during the closing minutes in Valencia, while Pedro may be handed an outing ahead of Willian.

Ross Barkley may remain sidelined with an ankle problem, although Callum Hudson-Odoi could be in contention for a spot among the replacements.

As for West Ham, Pellegrini may also make a number of changes, with Michail Antonio expected to be recalled after impressing as a substitute against Spurs.

Carlos Sanchez could be provided with an opportunity in midfield, while Fabian Balbuena may return to the centre of defence.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; James, Zouma, Tomori, Palmieri; Jorginho, Kante; Pedro, Mount, Pulisic; Batshuayi

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Roberto; Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Cresswell; Noble, Rice, Sanchez; Antonio, Anderson, Haller


Head To Head

Saturday's showdown will represent the 113th competitive encounter between the two clubs, with Chelsea registering 50 wins in comparison to 40 victories for West Ham.

There have been a mixed bag of results over the past four years with neither team being able to put together two wins in a row, a period which has lasted nine games.

West Ham have not prevailed at Stamford Bridge since Paolo Di Canio ran the show during a 3-2 victory in September 2002.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Chelsea 2-2 West Ham United

While West Ham have endured a dismal run of form, we cannot help but think that this is the perfect fixture to get back on track. With Chelsea's backline still looking wide open, we feel that these two rivals will play out an entertaining draw at Stamford Bridge.



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JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
ChinaChina105823
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
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Great BritainGreat Britain56415
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Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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