The first Monday night fixture of the Premier League season begins with a spectacular London derby as Antonio Conte’s refreshed Chelsea side take on an ambitious West Ham United team who are full of confidence after their successful finish to last season’s campaign.
The men from east London will prove a tough test to the Blues, as Slaven Bilic’s men mounted a serious challenge to the Champions League spaces, although they eventually finished in recent position.
Meanwhile, Chelsea come into Monday’s game after an efficient pre-season, which saw them notch up four wins from their six games. In particular, their performance in their last friendly match against German outfit Werder Bremen may have been a sign of things to come, as Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Pedro Rodriguez and Oscar all got their names onto the scoresheet.
The west Londoners will be looking for a fast start to the new season after their previous disappointing campaign – a 10th-placed finish meant they finished without any European football to look forward to this term.
The Hammers will be looking to approach the fixture with confidence after a testing pre-season period, in which they competed against the likes of a physically-superior Rubin Kazan outfit as well as a classy Juventus team in their last fixture at the Olympic Stadium, while they beat NK Domzale over two legs in their first Europa League qualifier.
Both clubs have showed their intent in the transfer market with Chelsea bringing in highly-rated Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi from Marseille and Leicester star N’Golo Kante, while Bilic has been able to add pace and power to his attack, with the additions of Sofiane Feghouli from Valencia and ex-Swansea forward Andre Ayew for a club-record fee.
For the hosts, Kurt Zouma is set to miss the start of the season with a knee injury sustained in February, while Mikel John Obi will be absent for this fixture due to his involvement for Nigeria at the Olympic Games in Rio.
West Ham will be without Aaron Cresswell who has a long-term knee injury and is set to be on the sidelines for three to four months, while other notable absentees include Gokhan Tore and Manuel Lanzini, who should return to action in a few weeks.
Last Season: Chelsea 10th – (opts); West Ham -7th (0pts)
Last Meeting: Chelsea 2-2 West Ham (March 19, 2016)
League Form: Chelsea – LWDLDD; West Ham – WLWLLW
Key Men: Chelsea – Eden Hazard: West Ham – Dimitri Payet
Shoot Says: Chelsea 2-1 West Ham United