West Ham United return home for the first time in almost a month, as they face the daunting task of the dominant Premier League leaders Chelsea Monday evening.
It was already going to be an onerous task facing Antonio Conte’s table toppers even if the Hammers were full strength. But without the suspended Michail Antonio, Slaven Bilic knows his side will have to play the perfect game to prevent a defeat.
The Croatian manager at least has the good news of getting Andy Carroll back from his groin injury, as the tall England striker looks to score against the Blues like he did last season at Upton Park. There were thoughts that Robert Snodgrass could miss this match with his new legal issues, but he is in the starting lineup once more.
For champions-elect Chelsea, Conte has chosen once more to pair N’Golo Kante’ with Cesc Fabregas instead of Nemanja Matic. Otherwise, the same formidable lineup that has given the Italian manager a wonderful first season in English football remains unchanged.
Can the Hammers somehow muster up a result against this brilliant Blues side? We shall see.
LINEUPS AND BENCH
Who do you think will be the Man of the Match for the Hammers tonight? For "Other," list below who you think will be if not those 3 #WHUCHE— Brace The Hammer (@BraceTheHammer) March 6, 2017
This thread will be updated after the opening 45 minutes, with the first half review. A post-match recap will immediately after the final whistle.
FIRST HALF RECAP
West Ham’s decent first half did not result in the scoreline it warranted, as they are behind Chelsea 1-0.
The Hammers were the better side for most of the first half, but were caught on a devastating counter attack by the league leading Blues when Eden Hazard superbly finished around Darren Randolph in the 25th minute. Giving even a centimeter to the champions-elect Chelsea, even if your side plays solidly, is asking for trouble. And that is indeed what happen to the home side, as Snodgrass’ poor pass after a free kick opportunity sit up Kante to feed Pedro and Hazard for what prove to be the first goal.
The Hammers don’t need to improve much in the second half. But with Lanzini unable to give West Ham at least one deserved shot on goal, they will need much better play from their wide men of Snodgrass and Feghouli in half two if they are to comeback and get a result against mighty Chelsea. Or risk Andre Ayew replacing one of them quickly.
The post game recap to come, after the final whistle.