PMB: Chelsea West Ham - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...

• Maurizio Sarri will factor in the Slavia Prague away leg – just three days later – when picking his team for the last London derby of the campaign. The head coach hailed midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek as now ‘the complete midfielder’ but although he is free of back pain thanks to the club’s medical department, he is being managed and is unlikely to play 90 minutes regularly. England colleague Callum Hudson-Odoi may start this game or the Europa League first leg.

• Only Man City and Liverpool have conceded fewer attempts on goal than Sarri’s team, and the Italian will aim to nullify the attacking threat of West Ham’s full-backs Pablo Zabalata and Aaron Cresswell while at the same time finding a way past their dense, narrow midfield and defence. Brighton used similar tactics to frustrate the Blues on Wednesday until Olivier Giroud’s breakthrough just before the interval.

• The Hammers have conceded 10 times from corners, making them the most susceptible in the league alongside last weekend’s opponents Cardiff City. Cesar Azpilicueta, who headed in the equaliser last weekend, was also the last Blues player to score against West Ham, in this fixture and on the same date a year ago.


• West Ham coach Manuel Pellegrini, when playing top-six teams, sometimes switches from 4-4-2 and selects three central midfielders. In the reverse fixture, which ended 0-0, that meant Mark Noble, Declan Rice and Pedro Obiang protecting their centre-backs. Only Cardiff, Brighton, Fulham, and Burnley concede more opposition shots per game than the Hammers.

• Javier Hernandez has netted in each of his past four top-flight visits to the Bridge. Marko Arnautovic, who has not scored a top-flight goal since early January, remains a doubt but leading goalscorer Felipe Anderson reportedly returned to training last week along with Samir Nasri.

• Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, now 33, kept his side competitive in a 0-2 loss at home to Everton last time out. Robert Snodgrass, Manuel Lanzini and Lucas Perez could lose their places and promising young winger Grady Diangana may see further action.

Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes

‘Of course it will be difficult, but I have to consider in this moment of the season we need to change. We have played 51 matches, and in the last part of the season I want 20 players completely involved in our targets.

‘I don’t know [if Callum Hudson-Odoi will start]. I have to decide who is going to play against West Ham and who is going to play against Slavia.’

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini's pre-match quotes

‘Chelsea in this moment are close to the spot of Champions League for next season. Maybe they are not involved in the title but they continue fighting for the Europa League and they reached the final of the League Cup.

‘So when we finish the season if Chelsea are in a spot of the Champions League I think that will be a good season for Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri.’

Squad news

Marcos Alonso


West Ham
Andy Carroll
Winston Reid
Carlos Sanchez
Andriy Yarmolenko

Felipe Anderson
Marko Arnautovic
Ryan Fredericks
Samir Nasri
Jack Wilshere


Matchday weather outlook

A mild night in west London.

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