Talking Points from Chelsea 2-0 West Ham- The Genius that is Eden Hazard, WHUFC formation and more!

West Ham put in a much improved show on Monday night against Chelsea, but their struggles on the road continued as Eden Hazard’s double helped the Blues pick up a 2-0 win and jump to third in the league table. Let’s take a look at our talking points from the game.

A 10/10 performance from Chelsea’s No.10: Big players often win you games. Eden Hazard was virtually untouchable here, making a mockery of the Hammers defence with a fantastic solo goal for Chelsea’s first, and an accurate finish on 90 minutes for the second. It wasn’t just scoring- some of his passes, to the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Callum Hudson-Odoi, were simply delicious, and on another day Chelsea might have been 3 or 4-0 up at half time.

If Chelsea didn’t have Hazard here, West Ham might have even managed to come away with a point from Stamford Bridge. Their performance wasn’t too bad, but Hazard was at another level, and even as an opposition supporter, you had to doff your hat to the little Belgian.

Performances like this will only drive up his fee for a potential transfer to Real Madrid in the summer.

West Ham’s tactics: Manuel Pellegrini started this game with a 4-2-3-1 that had Marko Arnautovic on the right wing and Javier Hernandez on his own upfront. Later in the first half, Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson swapped wings, with Pellegrini perhaps concerned at the Brazilian’s reluctance to track back, which resulted in plenty of space being afforded to Azpi and Hudson-Odoi down Chelsea’s right flank.

At half time, Hernandez was withdrawn for Robert Snodgrass and Arnautovic took the Mexican’s place upfront as the Hammers switched to a 4-1-4-1, a formation that saw them being a bigger threat in the second half. Rudiger and Luiz weren’t threatened by Hernandez, but had their hands full tackling Arnautovic after the interval. [Read more…]

Chelsea v West Ham predictions- What do the pundits think of the Hammers’ chances at Stamford Bridge?

West Ham will look to bounce back from what Manuel Pellegrini said was “their worst performance of the season” when they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea tonight. It’s the beginning of a busy week for Maurizio Sarri’s Blues- after hosting the Hammers, they have to make the long trip eastwards to Prague to take on Slavia in the Europa League and then return home to take on Liverpool on Sunday.

Given the fixture congestion, Sarri would’ve ideally liked to rotate some first team regulars tonight. But with Arsenal’s slip up against Everton over the weekend, fourth place remains quite possible for the Blues. Chelsea have lost only once at home in the league this season, while West Ham have been very average travellers.

Let’s take a look at what the pundits have predicted for this clash? The Hammers do have a decent record against the Blues in recent years- they’ve lost only one of the last five clashes between the two sides. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings- How did West Ham fare against Sarri’s Chelsea?

West Ham picked up a rather unlikely looking point at home over the weekend when they held Chelsea to a goalless stalemate at the London Stadium. Not only did the Hammers break Chelsea’s 100% league record, they also did it without conceding a goal– an indication that the players may be getting used to the systems put in place by new manager Manuel Pellegrini. Going into this clash, Chelsea were tied with Man City for most league goals scored this season, while West Ham had the second worst defensive record after Fulham.

Both teams had their chances and if the home side had the in-form Marko Arnautovic available to them, they might have even produced a repeat of last season’s upset.

We had a look at the player ratings from various media outlets and compiled them together. The Daily Express thought that Felipe Anderson only merited a 5, while Football.London thought that he was easily the Hammers’ best player on the afternoon, giving him a 9/10. The Daily Mail, somewhat bizarrely, forgot to rate Issa Diop! [Read more…]

Arnautovic-less West Ham break Chelsea’s 100% record

West Ham continued to build on the progress made away at Everton in Round 5, holding Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea to a goalless stalemate at the London Stadium. Few, if any, of the 56,875 fans at the stadium would’ve expected the struggling Hammers, sans key forward Marko Arnautovic, to take points off the Blues, who came into the fixture having won all five of their previous games and tied for most goals scored along with Man City.

Instead, West Ham produced a resolute defensive performance which showed their players were getting a hang of the systems implemented by Manuel Pellegrini. It could’ve even been a famous win- there were three very decent chances to the Hammers, two of which would’ve probably been buried by Marko Arnautovic, had he been available.

West Ham made only one change to the side that had beaten Everton, with Michail Antonio coming for the injured Arnautovic in their 4-1-4-1 formation. Antonio’s promotion to the starting XI also allowed Ryan Fredericks to come onto the bench. Chelsea, on the other hand, made 5 changes from the side that had beaten PAOK in the Europa League in midweek. With Pedro injured, Chelsea opted for a front trio of Willian, Giroud and Hazard. [Read more…]

West Ham v Chelsea predictions- What do the pundits say?

West Ham defied the odds by handing Everton their first league defeat of the season last weekend. This weekend they’re up against Chelsea- Maurizio Sarri’s men are one of only two teams in the league with a 100% record, the other being Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The Blues have however won only one of their last four games against the Hammers in all competitions and were beaten in the corresponding fixture at the London Stadium last season.

What do the pundits think about West Ham’s chances at the London Stadium this weekend?

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro, for the record, had tipped West Ham to beat Wolves in Round 4, and had also backed Everton to get the better of the Hammers in Round 5. [Read more…]