A draw with Brighton isn’t the worst result for the Hammers, though it marks their third successive league game without a win, and anything other than three points here would mark their worst winless run of 2021, and that’s a very plausible outcome up against the league leaders.
Chelsea weren’t at their very best against Watford in midweek, but still managed to come away with three points with Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech getting on the scoresheet for the Blues.
That victory keeps Chelsea at the top of the away table this year, picking up 19 points from a possible 21 on offer. In fact, under Thomas Tuchel’s management, the West London side have a mightily impressive W12-D3-L1 record on the road and, winning all six such matches against fellow London clubs, including a win-to-nil in this fixture last season.
While that result ensured Chelsea did the double over their city rivals last year, you only have to go back to the season prior to find when West Ham last did the double over the blues, while across all competitions since the beginning of the 2015/16 season, these sides are a very balanced W5-D3-L5 each in the head-to-heads, so this is far from a foregone conclusion.
It’s unclear whether Chelsea’s player of the season so far, Reece James, will be back in the picture this weekend, so it could be another case of Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta providing the width for the visitors, while Trevoh Chalobah will likely be out having picked up a hamstring strain.
Chelsea have won just half of the six matches Chalobah has missed this season, while they’ve gone W7-D1-L0 form the games that he’s started, so that will be a huge miss.
Chelsea -1 Handicap Draw
West Ham have defensive issues of their own, with Arthur Masuaku’s defensive susceptibility allowing Tariq Lampty enough time to pick out Neal Maupay for Brighton’s equaliser in midweek, so the hosts will be hoping Aaron Cresswell will be fit for this outing, though he remains a major doubt.
The bigger issue though is the absence of Angelo Ogbonna. Indeed, since this fixture last season, West Ham have a W9-D3-L2 record when the Italian defender has started, and just a W1-D1-L3 record when he hasn’t, with that sole win in his absence coming narrowly over Burnley which doesn’t bode well here against a rampant Chelsea side.
The stats point to a narrow away victory here, especially when considering West Ham haven’t lost by more than a single goal in any of their last 31 league matches going back to defeat against Liverpool in January.
Likewise, Chelsea haven’t gone to West Ham and come back having covered the -1 handicap since 2013, though the quality of their squad could just get them over the line and maintain that unbeaten away record this year.
CHELSEA -1 HANDICAP DRAW