West Ham United play their third consecutive London derby on the road this afternoon when they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.
The Hammers still haven’t won a league game away from Stratford since New Year’s Day but if they can pick up three points here, they will have done the double over Thomas Tuchel’s men after they ended their unbeaten away run back in December.
Having said that, David Moyes has never won at this venue but, as Chelsea have struggled at home recently, this may represent his best chance of a victory. Not only that, it will also stand West Ham in good stead for the first-leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final tie against German side Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night.
You don’t have to go back that far for the last time that the East Londoners achieved the double over their rivals, as both Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini were in charge of either fixture during the 2019/20 campaign.
It was a rare week off for the East Londoners, who haven’t played since the 1-1 home draw against Burnley a week ago, whereas the Blues were in action on Wednesday, when they were on the wrong end of a 4-2 home defeat by Arsenal.
The hosts currently have a tough fixture schedule and given that they have another game to prepare for away at Manchester United the same night that the Hammers continue their European exploits, the Irons’ boss will hope that the home sides’ minds are thinking ahead to the match at Old Trafford.
There was more bad news for Moyes earlier this week, as he has now lost defender Issa Diop who sustained an ankle injury during the encounter with the Clarets last weekend, meaning Craig Dawson is currently the only centre-back available.
This may force the Scotsman to deploy Declan Rice in a more defensive role and either give Nikola Vlašić another chance to impress, or alternatively, he could include either Mark Noble, Arthur Masuaku or Saïd Benrahma in the starting line-up, while Ben Johnson, Ryan Fredericks and Vladimír Coufal are options which the Scotsman may consider as cover.
Although he played the full ninety minutes of the Development Squad’s 1-0 Premier League Cup defeat to Fulham on Friday night, Ajibola Alese may be part of the matchday squad in West London.
The match is a 2pm kick-off with live coverage being screened by Sky Sports from 1pm. The referee is Michael Oliver.