Back on track after last week's impressive display at Everton, Manuel Pellegrini's troops will be relishing the chance to show what they can do against Premiership high flyers Chelsea. VERYWESTHAM will be attending in the company of some Chelsea supporting 'friends' and the pre match banter has identified three major talking points that will be central to the outcome.
1. Can the Hammers deal with Eden Hazard? Well rested after missing Thursday's Europa League trip to Greece, Mr Hazard has been on fire this season in a more central roving role. Pellegrini likes to focus primarily on his own team rather than base his tactics on the opposition's strengths, but Hazard poses an exceptional threat that makes you feel that West ham need the pacier Ryan Fredericks instead of Zabaleta, and Aaron Cresswell's better defensive abilities might give him the edge over Arthur Masuaku. Thankfully Diop and Balbuena are starting to develop a decent understanding and will need that today. The Noble/Obiang/Rice triad can provide better cover in front of the defence but need to be careful with Alonso's free kick ability.
2. Will Arnie be leading the line? The rumour mill suggests that Arnautovic is likely to start today. He thrives on big games and let's hope the growing relationship with Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko can be a factor today. Chelsea are least impressive at the back with Rudiger and Luiz like a high line and Pelle will be hoping that Arnie and company undermine this from the start.
3. Can the Hammers fans get a good atmosphere going. Against Wolves the London Stadium lacked passion and was not helped by the limp on-field performance. We really need to get a vibe going today - an early goal would certainly help!
Kick off is at 1.30.