Chelsea Match Preview
By Tom Dowsett
Friday 29 Nov 2019 12:52:00
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West Ham United slipped one place to seventeenth in the table on goals scored, following Aston Villa's 2-0 home win over Newcastle United on Monday night. Now, another tough test awaits the Irons in the form of a second consecutive London derby on Saturday afternoon. They head to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea, needing a result if falling into the relegation zone is to be avoided.

Given the hosts' defeat to current Champions Manchester City last weekend, together with their excursions in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, the visitors will be the fresher of the two sides having had a full week's preparation.

Despite strong speculation over the summer that the now former Head-Coach Maurizio Sarri would be leaving West London ahead of a return to his native country with Serie A side Juventus, when the fixtures for the current campaign were announced back on June 13, the Italian was still in his post.

Last season, former Blues midfielder Frank Lampard had taken Derby County to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final where they were beaten by Aston Villa. Although they appeared extremely reluctant to do so, the Rams allowed their manager permission to open talks over a return to his beloved club in the summer and that dream finally became reality on July 4.

It may have been a number of years ago now, but the way Lampard left West Ham has never been forgotten by their ever loyal fan base. The travelling support making the journey across London this weekend would love nothing more than to see their team get one over on him.

Declan Rice ended the 3-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at centre-back last weekend and Manuel Pellegrini is yet to decide whether to start him in that role given that Issa Diop will miss out through suspension. The defender picked up his fifth booking of the season against José Mourinho's men.

If however Manuel Pellegrini decides to stick with the same formation, then Fabián Balbuena will be the most likely to slot back into defence to partner Angelo Ogbonna after being dropped to the bench against Spurs.

Michail Antonio certainly made an impact after coming off the bench last weekend following a long absence due to a hamstring injury. He will be itching to be restored to the starting line-up and he could come in to take the place of Pablo Fornals.

The BBC are suggesting that Roberto Jiménez Gago could be benched in favour of David Martin after a string of costly errors in recent weeks. Martin, who signed from West Ham's archrivals Millwall in the summer is yet to make his competitive debut for the club.

Saturday's match is a 3pm kick-off and the referee is Jonathan Moss.

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