EPL – Chelsea Vs West Ham Preview

Chelsea (4-3-2-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Kante, Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Hazard; Costa

West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Byram; Kouyate, Noble; Feghouli, Ayew, Payet; Carroll

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Kick-off: 8pm, 12.00 PST Stamford Bridge

TV and Radio: LIVE on USA from 11.30am


West Ham


It may be the last game of the opening Premier League weekend, but nobody could say Chelsea vs West Ham is the least of the fixtures.

An exciting evening lies in store at Stamford Bridge as the reign of Antonio Conte gets underway with what should be a fiercely-contested London derby against Slaven Bilic’s ambitious Hammers.

Ahead of the big match, we take a look at some of the main talking points and where the contest may be won and lost.

Costa’s passion play

Speculation has surrounded the future of Chelsea talisman Diego Costa all summer but, in an indication that he will certainly be staying at Stamford Bridge, Conte called on the striker not to curb his temper this season.

The pair are kindred spirits really and Conte said: ‘He shows a great passion. I am the same. I think he doesn’t want to lose. I like this passion. I want this passion in the team.’

Costa will have to compete for his place with £33m signing Michy Batshuayi this season and so will be eager to make the headlines for a goal or two, rather than for getting in trouble for winding up the opposition.

The Spain international scored 16 times last season, a relatively low mark for him, and Conte has raised the bar by demanding 30 goals of his frontman this time.

Court of King Kante

Having swapped the blue of Leicester for that of Chelsea, we can expect to see £32m workhorse N’Golo Kante make his competitive debut on Monday night.

His arrival means that Chelsea surely have the Premier League’s most formidable midfield if he is partnered with Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas in a 4-3-2-1 system. Or alongside either of those in a 4-2-3-1.

Kante impressed so much last season with his formidable work-rate and shielding of the champions’ defence and his absence was keenly felt as Leicester went down to Hull on Saturday.

It may be a very quiet evening for West Ham’s attackers if Kante replicates some of last season’s form.

Andre starting Ayew at West Ham

Slaven Bilic has already said that Ayew, the club’s new record signing at £20million, will be their new ‘game-changer’ and the forward will be thrown in against Chelsea.

‘He adds more quality,’ said the Hammers boss. ‘He is a top player, he is a winner. And he wanted to come – you want players who want to come to West Ham.’

Ayew played together with talisman Dimitri Payet at Marseille and Bilic will be hoping they can conjure the same magic in the Premier League.

Certainly, as they line up with another new boy, Sofiane Feghouli, behind Andy Carroll, they will carry a considerable threat to trouble John Terry and Gary Cahill at the back for Chelsea.

Carroll’s Three Lions bid

Talking of Carroll, it seems remarkable that a man who made his England debut way back in 2010 still only has nine caps to his credit – the last of which came in 2012.

With the appointment of Sam Allardyce, who managed Carroll at Upton Park, and the failure of so many at Euro 2016, the net for potential players of the national side will be cast out afresh.

Carroll’s progress has been held up by injury for so long, but a good run of early season form could well see him back int he England fold for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

His height and physicality will undoubtedly trouble the Chelsea back line and he scored home and away against the Blues last season.

Touchline fireworks

It’s fair to say that neither Conte nor Bilic are shrinking violets and so expect the technical areas in front of the dug-outs to be well trodden.

Both are hoping to move their clubs forward this season – the Italian needs to restore Chelsea to title challengers following last year’s debacle, while Bilic will be hoping to build on West Ham’s excellent campaign in 2015-16.

Both are prone to ranting and raving from the sidelines, so their antics could well be equally as exciting as some of the passages of play.


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