CHELSEA v West Ham: Preview

Date: Monday 15th August, 2016
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 20:00 BST

Here we are then, another season, another Chelsea manager. This year we have Antonio Conte taking charge and given the shambles he inherited after our worst season in years, it’s no secret he’s got his work cut out between now and May.
Conte’s first Premier League game in charge sees us play host to West Ham at Stamford Bridge. Easy enough you might think if you consider we’re unbeaten in our last ten against them in this Premier League fixture. Mind you, Billic is a decent manager and under his guidance West Ham didn’t lose against us last season, something they hadn’t managed for the previous 13 years.
Still, at club level, Antonio Conte has lost just one of his last 30 league games and since Avram Grant is the only Chelsea manager to lose his opening Premier League game in the Roman Abramovich era, he doesn’t have too much to live up to.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into his first Premier League game as Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte says “I bring my experience as a former player and I think that’s important because every single manager must try to improve their players in different aspects, not just technical or tactical but everything from improving performance to aiding recovery after games and avoiding injuries.
My experience as a former player is important and I try to transfer that to my players and then they understand if it’s good or not good for them. It’s important to understand the right way to approach a situation. When you’ve been there yourself you know the right time to be soft or strong.”

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic meanwhile, says “Of course Chelsea are favourites and they are playing at home but he is new and we are going to see how it works. He will not know how it will work in the first game. In fact, do any of us know how their teams will play in the first game? No. It is a big blow for us that Manuel Lanzini and Aaron Cresswell are out and that Dimitri Payet is not yet fully fit. We will see how he does over the next couple of days before we make a decision.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, Kurt Zouma (knee) is still some way off a return but everyone else should be available.
For West Ham, Lanzini, Cresswell, Henry (all knee) and Sakho (fitness) are all out, whilst Tore (knee) is doubtful.

TEAMS
CHELSEA – Possible line-up: Courtois; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Kante; Willian, Oscar, Matic, Hazard; Costa
WEST HAM – Possible line-up: Adrian; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Kouyate, Nordtveit, Noble; Feghouli, Carroll, Ayew

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 2-2 West Ham (19th March 2016)

OTHER STUFF
~ Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 10 games at home against West Ham (W7 D3).
~ Chelsea have not lost in this fixture at Stamford Bridge nsince September 2002.
~ West Ham were unbeaten against us last season for the first time in 13 years (W1 D1).
~ Chelsea have won more points than any other side on the opening weekend of a season
~ Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 13 season opening games played at home (W10 D3).
~ Chelsea haven’t won any of their last four Premier League games on a Monday (W0 D2 L2).

PREDICTIONS
Sports Mole: Chelsea 2-1 West Ham
SkySports: Chelsea 2-0 West Ham
BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-0 West Ham

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