For a brief moment, all the teams relevant to the top-four race are level on games played with 32. The fixture list has gotten all jumbled up thanks to the various cup competitions, but for this brief moment, it’s easy to assess the situation.
Spurs, having finally moved into their new stadium, righted a rapidly sinking ship and won for the first time in six league games to stay third with 64 points.
Arsenal, seemingly on the up and up under Unai Emery, slipped up on Merseyside, putting an end to their six-match unbeaten run to stay fourth with 63 points.
Behind only on a goal difference of four (4), Chelsea are in fifth after back-to-back wins since the international break.
Manchester United meanwhile have lost two of their last three to solidify their grip on sixth place, trailing the Blues by two points.
Six games to go, and for Chelsea, a couple huge tests away at Anfield and Old Trafford included among those. We’ll need some help to finish top four, undoubtedly, but we’ll also need to win games like tonight, at home, against mid-table opposition with nothing left to play for other than some cross-town rivalry pride.
Help ourselves to let ourselves be helped.
Date / Time: Monday, April 9, 2019, 20:00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Chris Kavanagh — one of the newest faces among the Elite Group, this will Kavanagh’s fourth Chelsea match and third this season after wins against Huddersfield (A) and Newcastle (H).
Forecast: Mild, slight chance of rain
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA), Star Sports Select HD2 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); Fubo (affiliate link — USA only)
Chelsea team news: Chelsea’s inconsistent season rolls on inconsistently. The old and crusty lineup seems to struggle a fair bit, while the new and eager youngsters-led one seems to struggle less. So obviously we’ll see the former again today.
Minor injury concerns include Marcos Alonso (hamstring), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back), Ethan Ampadu (
age back), and Pedro (muscular injury). All but Ampadu could possibly feature on at least the substitutes bench.
The Blues have three games in seven days, with Slavia Prague to follow on Thursday and Liverpool on Sunday, both away. Sarri was none too pleased that the Premier League’s TV overlords wouldn’t move this match forward to the weekend, so we’re going to need every player in the squad to perform to their best ability.
“I am not able to understand the decision of the Premier League because we go to Prague as an ‘English team’. So I’m not able to understand why we have to play on Monday. It’s very strange.
“I think the [Premier League’s] answer was that, also in the Champions League, the English teams have only three days to prepare. But, in this case, it was easy to solve the problem. It’s not just about helping us but all the teams involved in Europe. They could have done more for the English teams in Europe. In Serie A, teams play on Friday. Teams involved in the Europa League away from home can ask to play their next Serie A match on Monday. Anyway, the situation is this, so we have only to adapt.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Guardian
West Ham team news: A comically long injury list adorns the Hammers squad as they make the cross-town trip from East to West London, including the likes of Yarmolenko, Wilshere, Carroll, and Winston Reid. But attacking duo Felipe Anderson and Samir Nasri should be available. Marko Arnautovic meanwhile has an injured psyche, or some such, sulking the season away after his failed big-money move to China.
Former Chelsea trainee Declan Rice made his international debut for England over the international break, after switching allegiance from Ireland, and is the talk of the town.
The Hammers are solidly tucked away in mid-table, with little other than pride to play for — none of which was on display last weekend as they lost to Everton at home, 2-0. They’ve traded wins and draws over the last six games — if the pattern holds, they’re set for a win. That said, they haven’t won an away game since Christmas (losing 7 of 8 in all competitions, with one draw).
View from the enemy: Brace The Hammer
Previously: We have to go back almost three years, to August 2016, for the last time Chelsea beat West Ham at the Bridge, 2-1 thanks to Diego Costa’s late strike! Yikes. This was Antonio Conte’s first game in charge of the Blues, complete with the iconic celebration, the likes of which were seen many more times as Chelsea won the league.