- Chelsea aim for third-straight win
- West Ham lost 3 of last 5
- A point will take Chelsea into top 4
Chelsea host West Ham United on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in what is always a feisty London derby at Stamford Bridge.
Maurizio Sarri’s have secured back-to-back wins to breathe new life into their top four hopes, and this is a huge week for the Italian coach as Chelsea also face Slavia Prague on Thursday in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League quarterfinal.
As for West Ham, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have struggled in recent weeks and have conceded seven goals in their last three games as they’ve lost to Everton and Cardiff City in that stretch.
In team news Chelsea could be without the injured duo of Marcos Alonso and Pedro, but Ross Barkley, Gonzalo Higuain and Willian could return after being rested in midweek.
West Ham will have Samir Nasri and Ryan Fredericks available for selection, while Jack Wilshere could make his long-awaited return.
What they’re saying
Sarri on the Higuain’s struggles: “Gonzalo has to improve. He has to improve physically and mentally, but I think also he will be able to be very useful for us in the last part of the season. You know very well that it’s not easy in the first months to play in the Premier League. It was a problem also for Luis Suarez in the first season at Liverpool. He scored only four goals. In the second season he scored 17 goals, so it’s not easy, especially for a striker, to play immediately well in the Premier League.”
Pellegrini on West Ham finishing the season strongly: “I need to see players that are not afraid to play against Chelsea away, after that Manchester United, we must try to go there and not just defend a result, try to play and we will see who plays better. I repeat that we will try to finish this season as high as we can in the table. We are trying to involve all the players in that mentality, the season is not over – maybe a lot of people can be happy as we are not fighting relegation as was last season – for that reason I understand that some may be happy but our mentality must always be to decide more.”
As they’ve done for most of this season, Chelsea will make hard work of this. But Sarri’s side have so many attacking options and one of Hazard, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Willian or Higuain will come up with the goods. 2-1 to Chelsea.