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West Ham vs Chelsea Preview, Team News, Likely Line-ups & Predicted Score
Chelsea play London rivals West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday looking to close the gap on the league leaders.
Interim boss Rafa Benitez is still searching for his first win since taking over from Roberto Di Matteo, with the Spaniard over-seeing 0-0 draws against Man City and Fulham during his first two games in charge.
The former Liverpool manager has endured a difficult welcome from the Stamford Bridge faithful and will be hoping to build relations with disgruntled fans with a win this weekend.
No win in six has seen the Blues drop off the pace in the title-race and the former league leaders now sit third and trail Manchester United by seven points.
Goals have been hard to come by in recent games with striker Fernando Torres continuing to struggle in front of goal, but the Hammers are his favourite opposition having scored six goals in six games against them in the past.
West Ham have enjoyed a steady start to life back in the Premier League having sealed promotion from the Championship last season, and they currently sit tenth in the table after a narrow 1-0 defeat to Man Utd at Old Trafford in midweek.
Sam Allardyce will have midfielder Mark Noble back after he served a 1-match ban at Old Trafford having picked up five bookings this season.
Andy Carroll is a slight doubt with a knee problem but is expected to be fit to face the Blues.
Benitez will be without defender David Luiz after the Brazilian collected his fifth booking of the season against Fulham and is therefore suspended for the game. Gary Cahill is likely to step in alongside Branislav Ivanovic at centre-back.
John Terry remains on the sidelines with a knee complaint and Frank Lampard will also miss his return to Upton Park as he continues to recover from a calf injury.
Juan Mata is expected to be restored to the startling line-up after being rested in midweek. Striker Daniel Sturridge will face a late fitness test on a hamstring problem.
Following two goalless draws, Benitez is under pressure to get his Chelsea side playing more attractive football, but we can see another relatively low-scoring affair at Upton Park this weekend. West Ham have only conceded 16 goals so far this season – the fifth lowest tally in the league – while the Blues have conceded 13 which is the third lowest tally, but we’re backing Chelsea to edge it. West Ham 0-1 Chelsea
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