Coming into this game Jose Mourinho knows that a win is a must if he wants to continue his journey towards the top of the Premier League. A defeat will bring back painful memories and with Roman Abramovich watching closely from the stands, Mourinho might not want to risk the anger of a man who has little patience with results like these.
Here are Five key battles that will decide this fixture.
- Dimitri Payet Vs Gary Cahill
For a player who has scored 5 goals in just 9 appearances for West Ham this Season, Dimitri Payet would pose major threat to Chelsea on Saturday. While Slaven Bilic has been revered by many West Ham fans as a Messiah due to the upturn in their fortunes, Payet has played a significant role in making that possible for his boss.
Coming into this game, he has scored 2 goals in his last 3 matches and looking at the defense of Chelsea, which has conceded 17 goals this Season, Payet would love to have a crack.
After conceding goals for fun this Season, Jose Mourinho tried different combinations but no one was better than with Cahill in the heart of it. Chelsea have managed 2 clean sheets on a trot for the first time this Season, which epitomizes the effort Cahill is putting in.
2. Diego Costa Vs Angelo Ogbonna
Though Ogbonna is not a name that will be too familiar with the English Premier League fans, West Ham upset the odds when they signed him early on in the summer. He spent last Season at Italian Giants Juventus, and it were his performances there that prompted West Ham to make their move in the summer.
Diego Costa might have come back with a bang. However, his lackluster performance against Kyiv in mid-weel showed that the striker is still a little bit short of hitting his top form for Chelsea.
Thus, with a striker who is the center-stage of his team’s hopes against a defender who has performed in big matches before, this promises to be an intriguing battle.
3. Manuel Lanzini Vs Cesar Azpilicueta
If two players could be named as the reason for the form of West Ham this Season, Lanzini would be one of them. The heights that he has achieved so far in his West Ham career have stunned the pundits taking into account that he came from a low profile League in the United Arab Emirates.
However, as they say that talent knows no boundaries, Lanzini is proving to be a practical example of this.
4. Willian Vs Aaron Cresswell
While the current Season has been a doom and gloom one for Chelsea fans, there is one figure in their lineup every weekend that is keeping their hopes high. He was the main reason Chelsea earned a draw against Newcastle after finding themselves 2-goals behind and since then the Brazilian hasn’t looked back.
5. Cheikhou Kouyate Vs Cesc Fabregas
Ask the Liverpool fans and they will tell you what in form Cheikhou Kouyate can do for his team. It was his performance early on in the Season that demolished Liverpool at home turf and gave West Ham a historic win at Anfield.
Being a defensive midfielder, the Senegalese International has provided a brilliant cover to his defenders all along this Season. Playing alongside Mark Noble, who is not the most mobile in West Ham midfield, Kouyate is a mix of pace and physicality that makes his game even more dangerous for the opposition.
His primary duty on Saturday will be to stop Cesc Fabregas. A player whose confidence seems to have gone down the drain, Cesc Fabregas has that ability to win matches on his own even now. It was his brilliant long ball in the last game that resulted in the 2nd goal for Chelsea. Thus, the Spaniard still can disrupt any defense with his long shots.