West Ham vs Chelsea – Premier League preview and team news

Three days after experiencing glory at Wembley in the Capital One Cup final, Chelsea return to their attempts to regain the Premier League title with a trip to West Ham United.

It has been such a great season for the Hammers, but now they find themselves on the slide, falling to ninth in the table following their abject 3-1 defeat to neighbours Crystal Palace on Saturday. It was an uncharacteristically lifeless performance which only sparked into life once the visitors were out of sight and down to 10 men.

What will have angered manager Sam Allardyce most was the manner in which all of the goals were conceded – from set-pieces. The presence of Scott Dann and Glenn Murray proved too difficult to handle at the back, while in attacking areas Diafra Sakho struggled with his hold-up play, resulting in few chances being created.

Chelsea needed the aid of two deflections to see off rivals Tottenham and lift their first trophy since Jose Mourinho began his second spell as manager, but overall they showed more tactical nous and know-how than their opponents, making it the perfect day all round with titles rivals Manchester City having lost at Liverpool.

That result now leaves the Blues five points clear at the top with a game in hand, and although they are not producing the same scintillating football they were at the beginning of the season, they are just as effective. Kurt Zouma is unlikely to be in a holding midfield role here, but Mourinho will undoubtedly have something unexpected in mind for this one.

West Ham are still without strikers Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole due to injury, while winger Morgan Amalfitano completes a three-match ban.

Nemanja Matic serves the second and final match of his suspension for Chelsea, who are also unable to call upon John Obi Mikel.

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