MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 16:39:08| >> :120:5566:5566:
Mar 19, 2016 at 3pm UK at Stamford Bridge
West HamWest Ham United
Fabregas (45', 89' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-1)
Lanzini (17'), Carroll (62')

Preview: Chelsea vs. West Ham United

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Premier League London derby between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge.

Over the last few years, West Ham United have been forced to watch on as London rivals Chelsea embarked on numerous Champions League journeys.

Now, though, as they prepare to travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon, they may find next term that the roles have been reversed.


Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink on December 23, 2015© Getty Images

The 2-0 defeat away at Everton last weekend ensured that it would be a season to forget for everybody connected with Chelsea.

Already out of the Champions League and massively adrift of the title race, the FA Cup represented the only chance of silverware for the West Londoners. Yet, it was a familiar face - Romelu Lukaku - that produced the goods for Everton as he dumped his former employers out of the competition at the quarter-final stage.

If nothing else, interim boss Guus Hiddink has at least steadied the ship since taking interim charge in December. When the Dutchman strode into Stamford Bridge for a second time, he inherited a team that was just one point above the bottom three.

But, it is worth noting that while Chelsea have lost none of the 13 Premier League matches since Jose Mourinho was sacked, fewer than half of those (six) have ended in victories.

Now, the focus will be on finishing as high up the Premier League as possible. They currently sit 10th, but if they can turn some of those draws into victories, seventh or maybe even sixth position will not be beyond them.

Fourth place is too much of a gap to bridge, though - 11 points to be exact. Nevertheless, the Blues can have a big say on who finishes in the Champions League places given that after West Ham they also face Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City.

Recent form: DDWWWD
Recent form (all competitions): WWWDLL

West Ham

Slaven Bilic manager of West Ham United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Norwich City at the Boleyn Ground on September 26, 2015© Getty Images

At the start of the season, not even the most ardent of West Ham supporters would have put money on their side being just two points outside of the Champions League places with nine matches left to play.

After all, a manager was hired with no previous experience of coaching in the Premier League, while decent-sized fees were splurged on the likes of Dimitri Payet, Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang and Michail Antonio, none of whom had ever played in England's top flight.

An early exit from the Europa League, coupled with two home Premier League defeats at the start of the season, did little to deter the doubters. Yet, since then, just four losses have been suffered in the league, while entertaining football has also been thrown into the bargain.

While many players have contributed, it is hard to ignore the impact made by the classy Payet. The French playmaker has scored eight Premier League goals and assisted a further seven.

He has also proven to be the key man in West Ham's run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup by scoring stunning free kicks against Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United.

Of course, it all means that those fans that make the short trip to Stamford Bridge on Saturday will be doing so in expectation rather than hope, when for so long it has been the other way round.

Recent form: WLDWWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWWWWD

Team News

Winston Reid of West Ham United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Leicester City at the Boleyn Ground on August 15, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.© Getty Images

West Ham centre-back Winston Reid limped off with what appeared to be a recurrence of a hamstring complaint last time out against Man United.

However, it has since been confirmed that it was only a precaution and the Kiwi will be fit to face Chelsea.

That will be music to Slaven Bilic's ears because Reid's fellow defenders James Collins and James Tomkins are definitely ruled out with injuries.

Aside from the absent duo, Bilic has a full complement of players to select from, with Sam Byram expected to be back in the squad after he missed the United game because he was cup-tied.

As for the home side, they will have to make do without Diego Costa, who is suspended as a result of the red card that he received at Everton.

That could see youngster Bertrand Traore given a chance to start up front, with Loic Remy once again overlooked.

There is also a doubt over the availability of Eden Hazard because of a persistent hip issue, but captain John Terry has returned to fitness following a stint sidelined with a hamstring pull.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Pedro; Traore

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini, Payet; Emenike, Carroll

Head To Head

Since May 2003, this fixture has been won by West Ham on only two occasions.

As far as their last win at Stamford Bridge goes, you have to go back a little bit further to September 2002 when Paolo Di Canio notched a brace in a 3-2 triumph.

When the teams met earlier in the season at Upton Park, Andy Carroll was among the scorers in a 2-1 victory for the Hammers.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Chelsea 0-0 West Ham

Chelsea have proven themselves to be a tough nut to crack during the Hiddink regime. On the flip side, West Ham will be confident and although they will be looking for a victory, a point would not be a disaster. This could be a game where the two teams cancel each other out.

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Dimitri Payet of West Ham United celebrates scoring his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at the Boleyn Ground on September 14, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Olympic Games Men's Football
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Portuguese Super Cup
Taca da Liga
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League

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