Chelsea - West Ham United Preview: Blues looking to bounce back against high-flying Hammers

Chelsea will look for their first win in two matches when they take on West Ham United on Saturday afternoon

Chelsea - West Ham United Preview: Blues looking to bounce back against high-flying Hammers
Chelsea FC vs West Ham United: Blues looking to bounce back against high-flying Hammers

Guus Hiddink will be hoping that his Chelsea side can get back to winning ways when they host West Ham United on Saturday afternoon. 

Bump in the road 

Above: Romelu Lukau celebrating in Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Everton| Photo: ITV Sport
Above: Romelu Lukau celebrating in Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Everton| Photo: ITV Sport

The Blues' league form has steadied and vastly improved since Jose Mouriho's departure who was replaced by Hiddink, but a poor run of form in the last week has effectively ended their season. 

Chelsea were comfortably sent packing from the last-16 stage of the Champions League last Wednesday with Paris Saint-Germain taking the 2-1 away win at the Bridge

That increased the pressure as they traveled to Merseyside last Saturday to take on Everton with the FA Cup proving their only realistic path to European football next season. 

However former striker Romelu Lukaku came back to haunt the Blues with two late goals sending the Toffee's to Wembley with the Hiddink's miserable evening been sealed with the dismissal of Diego Costa

Their league form continues to be their saving grace with Hiddink still unbeaten since the beginning of his second spell but with nine points separating these sides ahead of kick-off, the Blues' remaining ambitions will be to finish as high up the table as possible. 

High-flying Hammers 

Above: Dimitri Payet scoring the opening goal in West Ham's 1-1 draw with Manchester United| Photo: The Mirror
Above: Dimitri Payet scoring the opening goal in West Ham's 1-1 draw with Manchester United| Photo: The Mirror

Hiddink will face a tough test to get his first win in two as they take on one of the hottest sides in the league in the form of Slaven Bilic's West Ham United. 

Many were skeptical ahead of the campaign with Bilic been given the hot seat at the Boleyn Ground but has managed to prove the doubters wrong as his side are in serious contention for a Champions League position. 

Since their defeat to Southampton at the beginning of February they have remained undefeated in their last seven matches which included last Sunday's match with Manchester United

The Hammers were seven minutes away from the FA Cup semi-finals after Dimitri Payet spectacularly opened the scoring but Anthony Martial's late strike meant they had to settle for the 1-1 draw and a replay. 

All the focus will return to the league and with just two points between them and Manchester City and having already defeated Chelsea 2-1 back in October confidence will be high that they can break into the top four. 

Team news 

A big blow for the home side will be the absence of star players Costa and Eden Hazard. 

Costa is suspended for this match after he was dismissed in the defeat to Everton last Saturday. Hazard is still struggling with a hip injury that he picked up against PSG which saw him miss last weekend's game and could keep him out once again. Both will be joined on the sidelines by Kurt Zouma and Radamel Falcao

In term of Bilic's team, defenders James Tomkins (calf) and Collins (hamstring) will be absent despite Tomkins returning to full training this week. 

Victor Moses is ineligible to face his parent club but Sam Byram will be available after been cup tied for the Old Trafford trip last Sunday

Chelsea will host West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, March 19 with kick-off 3pm BST.