West Ham United vs Chelsea preview: Hammers look to get back to winning ways against champions elect

West Ham United vs Chelsea preview: Hammers look to get back to winning ways against champions elect

West Ham will look to stop Chelsea extending their lead at the top of the Premier League when they clash on Monday night.

Danial Kennedy

West Ham United will be looking to return to winning ways after two consecutive draws, but will face a tough test when they welcome Premier League leaders Chelsea to the London Stadium on Monday night.

The Blues are looking to extend their lead at the top of the table to 10 points - having won 17 of their last 20 top-flight games, losing only once.



Getting back amongst the wins

It has been far from a stellar season for the Hammers, especially at the beginning, but Slaven Bilić's side have picked up the pace in the last few weeks and months and will look to finish as strongly as possible.

The Hammers have only lost one of their last six outings, but haven't tasted victory since the excellent 3-1 away victory over Southampton.

Only draws have followed since, with the late heart-break against West Bromwich Albion.

They were hopeful of taking three points when they travelled the short distance to Watford last Saturday.

It looked to be going pear-shaped with Troy Deeney's penalty three minutes in and the Londoners wasted a host of chances, but Andre Ayew was on hand late on to grab a late point.

Many will not be backing West Ham for victory on Monday, but having already defeated the same opponents in the EFL Cup this season there will be some confidence.

An even bigger cushion

It has been an excellent season for the Blues in Antonio's Conte's debut campaign, and they will look to continue their dominance at the top of the Premier League table with the trip to Stratford.

Since the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur back at the beginning of January that ended their excellent 13-game winning streak, they have gone on another magnificent run of form - remaining nine games unbeaten since that loss.

They were pushed to their limits last week when they welcomed Paul Clement back to Stamford Bridge.

Cesc Fabregas opened the scoring early on but Fernando Llorente equalised in first-half extra-time. It looked to be heading for a draw but goals from Pedro and Diego Costa secured a comfortable 3-1 victory over Clement's Swansea City.


Team news

A big boost for Bilić is the reported return to fitness for Andy Carroll. The striker has been superb for the Hammers this season but has been missing for the past two matches with a groin injury.

The 28-year-old is expected to come in for Michail Antonio, who picked up a suspension in the stale-mate at Vicarage Road last Saturday. Diafra Sakho and Angelo Ogbonna are the only absentees for the Croatian.

The league leaders don't have injury concerns going east across the capital, but they will be sweating over the fitness of star man Eden Hazard.

Hazard has returned to excellent form after ghosting his way through the campaign last year, but picked up a knock after a kick in training. Conte however stated that he thinks the winger will be available.

West Ham United will host Chelsea at the London Stadium on Monday, March 6 with kick-off at 8pm GMT.