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Prediction: West Ham vs Chelsea

Verdict: Away win

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

Revived West Ham will be eager to extend the bright run of results having finally recorded back to back wins in the Premier League, but the problem is their next opponents are in even better spirits than themselves. Chelsea head into the EFL Cup clash on the back of three straight wins to nil, with the 4-0 triumph over rivals Manchester United especially impressive.

West Ham

West Ham were finally expected to build on some promising showings from last season and maybe even mount a top 4 challenge, but Slaven Bilic’s charges were instead pretty disappointing in the opening exchanges. Numerous injuries and poor shape of Ballon d’Or nominee Dimitri Payet, who needed some time to return to his best after taking part at the Euro 2016 finals, certainly prevented the Hammers from showing all they’ve got, but it would appear as though the difficult period has finally come to an end. Having seen his side conceded goals for fun at the start of the season, Slaven Bilic reverted to three at the back and the change worked like a charm. West Ham managed to end a five-match winless run in the Premier League with a 1-0 triumph over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, before they recorded the same result at home against Sunderland, with Winston Reid scoring the winner deep into injury time. And while manager Slaven Bilic may be tempted to rest some of his star players in midweek, he will stick to his strongest side, as they have only now started showing improvement and any changes could be detrimental to their future success.

Team News

Despite the fact he has yet to score his first goal for the club, Simone Zaza is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up, with Jonathan Calleri waiting for his chance on the bench.

Aaron Cresswell returns from suspension, but Darren Randolph, Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew, Gokhan Tore, Diafra Sakho, Sam Byram and Arthur Masuaku are out injured.

Chelsea

Even if they were not as disappointing as West Ham, Chelsea, too, were going through a rough patch until recently, that is until Antonio Conte also decided to revert to a three-man defence. With the manager having used the system to great effect at Juventus, he was always going to try it out at Stamford Bridge, and it was only a matter of time. The Blues have shown a great deal of improvement since switching to a 3-4-3 formation, and it seems that this will become the main system in the remainder of the season. With three central defenders, two full-backs and the likes of Matic and Kante providing excellent cover for the back line, players like Eden Hazard and Willian are now able to fully focus on their attacking exploits, and three convincing victories in a row are enough to suggest that the new formation should be the way to go. It is even more impressive that Chelsea recorded 3-0 and 4-0 wins over Premier League holders Leicester City and star-studded Manchester United, so no doubt they will want to extend the excellent run of results by beating West Ham to a place in the English League Cup quarter-final.

Team News

Kurt Zouma has returned from a lengthy injury lay-off in an Under-23 match, but he is not in contention for the West Ham clash.

Captain John Terry is set to return to the side, while Willian, Oscar, Nathaniel Chalobah and Michy Batshuayi should start as well.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea recorded three straight victories without conceding
  • West Ham also kept a clean sheet in last two fixtures (W2)
  • Both teams improved after switching to three at the back
  • Chelsea won five of last eight meetings with West Ham (D2 L1)
  • Both teams scored in their last three meetings

Conclusion

While West Ham have recorded back to back wins over bottom-table sides, Chelsea have impressed when facing some of England’s best teams, and that is why we believe that the Blues will emerge victorious, even though Antonio Conte is widely expected to ring changes to his starting line-up.

Verdict: Away win

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

Tue 25 Oct, 2016
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