Javier Hernandez, Andy Carroll and Marko Arnautović have combined to slay Chelsea far too many times to count over the years. Regardless of their overall skills (or lack thereof), they are names we don’t ever want to see on the opposition team sheet. And these days, they all play for Chelsea’s next opponent, West Ham United.
With 15 goals between them (9 of those in 14 tries for Chicharito alone), including both of West Ham’s two goals against us last season (and 4 of the last 8 in the Premier League), any lineup featuring them could be concerning. Unfortunately for new West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, all three of them could be injured for Sunday’s game.
Hernandez (illness) and Carroll (ankle, or the myriad other issues) have already been ruled out, while Arnautović, who had a goal and an assist in the two games last season, is dealing with some sort of knee issue.
“Marko Arnautovic finished the match against Everton with a problem behind his knee. We will see if he is fit for Sunday. He played well and we hope he will recover.”
Pellegrini’s other options include Arsenal reject Lucas Perez and former Dynamo Kiev star Andriy Yarmolenko. He’s not giving up of course, but he made sure emphasize defensive concentration.
“It’s impossible to start better than Chelsea have, but every game is different. We must be confident at home. We will try to do the same as the last game. We have to concentrate defensively, but I am confident.”
-Manuel Pellegrini; source: Reuters via ESPN
Chelsea may be perfect on the season and West Ham may have just one win in five, but nobody should be taking anything for granted. For West Ham, Chelsea’s visit is one of hte biggest games of the season. Chelsea lost one and drew one last season with them, and even two years ago, during the 13-match winning streak, the Blues managed to lose to the Hammers in the League Cup.
There are no easy games in the Premier League as the cliche goes, especially with Chelsea’s preparations hampered by a Thursday night trip to Greece and a delayed return, plus a few injury concerns of their own as well.