Mar 6, 2017 07:30:00
Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League match as the Blues travel to the London Stadium to face the Hammers on Monday
West Ham host Chelsea on Monday, in what may well be an acid test for Slaven Bilic's side's top-10 credentials.
The Hammers are currently ninth in the Premier League table, but have enjoyed something of a renaissance in the second-half of the season, and have avoided defeat in their last three Premier League games.
A win over Chelsea would surely provide a welcome boost to a Hammers side that is currently looking to banish the grim spectre of the opening months of the season, where they flirted with the bottom three and the prospect of relegation.
WEST HAM INJURIES
Andy Carroll is a serious doubt for the encounter, as he continues to struggle with a groin injury. His absence would be a blow for the Hammers, especially considering his prolific scoring record; he has scored six goals in 12 appearances for the club thus far this season. Slaven Bilic, however, has claimed that he is "certain" that Carroll will be fit for the encounter, but he has not trained in two weeks, further shrouding his participation in doubt.
Away from Carroll, Bilic's side have a number of long-term injury absentees, including central defender Angelo Ogbonna, who has undergone knee surgery.
Diafra Sakho is ruled out until April with a back injury, while Gokhan Tore has no current return date for a knee injury.
WEST HAM SUSPENSIONS
Michail Antonio is suspended for the encounter with Chelsea after collecting a red card during the Hammers' 1-1 draw with Watford last time out.
Antonio played through the middle against the Hornets, and his replacement may well depend on the fitness of Andy Carroll, but the Irons have no other suspension worries for the encounter with the Blues, which is sure to be a fiery one.
POTENTIAL WEST HAM LINE-UP
West Ham have enjoyed some success with a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent weeks, with Antonio playing through the middle.
The Englishman is the club's top scorer with eight goals from 25 appearances, but Bilic has a significant headache when it comes to replacing the 26-year-old.
Carroll is a major doubt for the encounter and if he fails to regain fitness then Andre Ayew will likely replace him through the middle against the Blues.
Ayew is usually a winger and his tally of two goals from 13 appearances is hardly likely to inspire fear in the Blues' defence, but he remains a dynamic presence, with his pace and trickery likely to cause a number of problems.
Elsewhere, Darren Randolph is likely to continue in goal at the expense of Adrian, while Pedro Obiang and Mark Noble are set to continue in midfield.
CHELSEA TEAM NEWS
Chelsea have endured few injury problems this season and the entire squad is expected to be available for the game at Stamford Bridge.
David Luiz is playing through a minor knee injury but has been available for all of Chelsea's big clashes. Conte, however, chose to rest him and Marcos Alonso for the FA Cup win over Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.
Thibaut Courtois was suffering from gastroenteritis at the weekend but has been training and will return to the starting line-up ahead of Asmir Begovic, who played at Wolves.
Charly Musonda and Kenedy have returned to the club after being recalled from their loan moves at Real Betis and Watford respectively, expected to provide cover for the remainder of the season.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
This will be the first league meeting between the two sides at the London Stadium – the Hammers won just two of their last 10 Premier League appearances against Chelsea at Upton Park (D1, L7).
Antonio Conte has lost two of his three away London derbies in the Premier League, losing to Arsenal in September and Tottenham in January, while beating Crystal Palace in the other game.
Diego Costa has scored 48 goals in 78 Premier League appearances. Should he score twice or more against the Hammers he will become the fifth quickest to 50 goals in the competition after Andrew Cole (65 appearances), Alan Shearer (66 apps), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68 apps) and Fernando Torres (72 apps).
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
The game is due to kick off at 20:00 on Monday, and will be televised in the UK on Sky Sports 1.