Chelsea’s second game of the season takes us across the capital, and here club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton build up to another big Sunday showdown…
Chelsea and West Ham both face their first London derby of the campaign, having drawn 1-1 in their opening matches. That was also the scoreline last time the pair met at the London Stadium in February, the goals coming from Joao Felix and Emerson.
The hosts’ head coach David Moyes has never gained the upper hand over Chelsea’s new man Mauricio Pochettino, losing once and drawing four of their five league encounters to date.
Chelsea’s first away trip of the campaign is a chance to lay down a marker after last season’s 10 Premier League losses on the road – the most for the club since 1997/98.
The Blues’ points haul on opposition soil was 19 – 21 down on 2021/22 form, 15 fewer than 2020/21, 11 down on 2019/20, and a sizeable 23 short of our title-winning 2016/17 performance. Even the season before that, when we finished 10th, the away tally was 26 points.
The omens are positive: Chelsea have won six of our past seven first away matches of the league campaign, while West Ham have lost four of their last five home openers.
Last weekend Christopher Nkunku’s absence forced a tweak to Pochettino’s plans. This week the Argentinean will be grateful the talented Malo Gusto can come in for injured Reece James, and the arrival of record signing Moises Caicedo facilitates other ideas hatched in pre-season.
Brighton used lifelong Chelsea supporter Caicedo as the anchor in a midfield trio (even occasionally at right-back). The Ecuadorean – a new nationality for our club – ranked second highest in the league for tackles and interceptions last season, very much traits of his idols, Makelele and Kante.
Although his defensive-mindedness will liberate other midfielders, only five players managed more successful passes, and his work to regain possession led to 18 attempts on goal – second only to Man City’s Rodri. Under Poch he is likely to form the base of a triangle with Enzo, Conor Gallagher or Carney Chukwuemeka more advanced.
Among many assured opening bows against Liverpool, Axel Disasi became the Blues’ 91st player to score on debut. The last Chelsea defender to find the net in his first home game was Kalidou Koulibaly against Tottenham a year and a day earlier. The France international completed 89 passes, the fourth-highest figure for a Premier League debut (since Opta recorded the stat in 2003).
After an uncertain opening 20 minutes against Klopp’s side, the new fast, flowing, full-throttle approach was a delight to watch, and Nicolas Jackson’s 70-yard, 93rd-minute run was indicative of visibly improved fitness levels. No player on the pitch won possession on more occasions than Conor Gallagher’s 10.
A well-organised midfield and defence restricted usually prolific Liverpool to one accurate shot on goal for Robert Sanchez, who impressed by claiming several high crosses.
Scouting the opposition – West Ham
It has been an up and down period for David Moyes’s team, who gained a Europa Conference League trophy and a place in this season’s Europa League, but saw key man Declan Rice switch to Arsenal and may lose another important player before the window closes.
For the opening weekend’s draw at Bournemouth, Tomas Soucek was partnered in the middle by Lucas Paqueta, but the 25-year-old has been heavily linked with an exit to fill a De Bruyne-sized hole in Man City’s squad. That may mean a rapid debut alongside Soucek for James Ward-Prowse, recently signed from Southampton.
Last season David Moyes seemed to prefer Rice as the central midfielder licensed to take up attacking positions. The former Cobham trainer weighed in with four league goals and one assist, compared to five and one for the towering Czech the previous campaign. Ward-Prowse’s set-piece scoring will add a new threat to the Irons’ armoury, but Paqueta was no slouch, contributing to seven goals in 2022/23.
The Irons are a striker short with Gianluca Scamacca joining Atalanta, though, and Moyes must have concerns about overworking their primary line-leader Michail Antonio in another season of UEFA midweeks. From the bench, options include dynamic winger Maxwell Cornet, teenage striker Divin Mubama, and seasoned poacher Danny Ings.
Hammers fans will hope Jarrod Bowen’s opening strike in Hampshire – his first on the road in the league since February 2022 – heralds a return to top form for the one-time Hull winger, who always seems to relish this fixture.
At the back, Craig Dawson has departed and the mooted move for Harry Maguire has not been completed. Incoming defensive midfielder/centre-back Edson Alvarez, who joined this week from Ajax, may be held back until he has acclimatised to the more physical demands of the Premier League.
The Mexican won’t have happy memories of Chelsea. In the decisive 2019 Champions League group game at the Bridge, he replaced the more attacking Hakim Ziyech at 72 minutes with the score 4-3 in Ajax’s favour. The Blues then rallied powerfully to draw a chaotic game 4-4.
With Alphonse Areola preferred to stalwart Lukasz Fabianski last weekend, the Hammers’ back four ahead of him will probably comprise Vladimir Coufal, Nayef Aguerd, Kurt Zouma (skipper last weekend), and another former Blue, Emerson.
How to watch West Ham vs Chelsea
This match will be covered live by Sky Sports in the UK. To find the relevant broadcaster where you are, see the Premier League’s broadcast schedule pages.
Chelsea TV’s worldwide matchday shows – including early team news, exclusive interviews and analysis – are on the Chelsea app, Facebook Live, and the official YouTube channel.
West Ham vs Chelsea – the history
West Ham’s ground, where the Blues have taken three points in just one of the past six visits, would be a good place to start ironing out some of the creases from last season’s patchy-at-best away form.
Our sole league victory in Stratford since 2017 came in April 2021 during lockdown, Timo Werner driving home the only goal from a cross after a sweeping team move. Fabian Balbuena was dismissed late on after a VAR review of his dangerous tackle on Ben Chilwell.
On Sunday it will be almost exactly 57 years ago to the day that West Ham’s three 1966 World Cup heroes – Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters – acknowledged the pre-kick off adoration from all sides of the Boleyn Ground in the late summer sunshine.
Tommy Docherty’s visitors, however, were not there to pay homage. Charlie Cooke and John Hollins put in phenomenal performances and both scored in an impressive opening day 2-1 win.
English clubs in Europe
West Ham claimed the Europa Conference League trophy last season and may well parade it before Sunday’s kick-off, while Man City added the UEFA Super Cup to their collection in midweek. Both are now more successful in Europe than Arsenal, Newcastle et al, but have a long way to go to catch Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Sunday brings the first of Chelsea’s 12 all-London league clashes this season. The west Londoners have managed just one win from the nine most recent top-flight derbies and will be aiming to arrest a run of three straight defeats.
An historic table of Premier League clashes between the competition’s seven current capital clubs (below) places the Blues second and West Ham fourth.
Chelsea are aiming for a 150th Premier League victory against all London rivals (the second to do so after Arsenal), while the Hammers have suffered the most derby defeats in the competition (119).
Premier League London derby table 1992-2023
|4. West Ham||216||65||45||106||-100||240|
|5. Crystal Palace||122||24||31||67||-93||103|
Seven players made their league debut in Mauricio Pochettino’s bow at the Bridge last Sunday, eclipsing the six in Jose Mourinho’s start against Manchester United season in August 2004.
It is the third highest ever for the Blues after our maiden game at Stockport in September 1905 (11), and the first post-World War Two fixture in August 1946 against Bolton (nine).
Last weekend’s 1-1 with Liverpool made it seven consecutive draws between the two sides across all competitions. That equals our club record set against West Bromwich between March 1922 and September 1927.