90min

West Ham Have Nothing to Fear Ahead of Trip to Chelsea

Toby Cudworth
West Ham are much harder to beat at the moment
West Ham are much harder to beat at the moment / Gareth Copley/Getty Images
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If we've learned anything during the first few months of the 2020/21 Premier League season, it's that anything can happen in football.

Sure, we've heard that analogy so many times before, but this crazy year has seen it ring truer than ever; you only need to look at Liverpool's rollercoaster results so far this season (the 7-2 defeat at Aston Villa and the 7-0 win at Crystal Palace, we're looking at you) to see the proof is in that particular pudding.

You'll also know that those pearls of wisdom are accurate if you're a West Ham supporter.

There won't be many who can admit they had full confidence in manager David Moyes heading into the season, even though he'd pulled a Michail Antonio shaped rabbit out of the hat to steer the club away from relegation trouble last time out.

Hell, even this writer was full of skepticism and dismay over his management after a disjointed and utterly awful defeat to Newcastle on the opening day of the season.

But since that shocking September night, things have turned significantly for the better, and Moyes is now, deservedly, receiving widespread praise for how he's transformed West Ham into a side capable of beating anybody.

That's why Monday night's trip across the capital to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge should hold no fear, even though many are suggesting that Frank Lampard's side have the firepower to haul themselves into the title race.

The Blues have spent an awful lot of money and do possess one of the strongest Premier League squads on paper. They've also looked a lot better at the back following the arrivals of Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy, and no longer have that feeling in the pit of their stomach that a goalkeeping calamity is around the corner.

But Chelsea are far from the finished product, and have shown many times already this season that they've not quite got it together going forward, despite netting 26 Premier League goals to date.

Werner has been lively, but has struggled in front of goal
Werner has been lively, but has struggled in front of goal / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Timo Werner has looked good in patches but hasn't scored in his last eight in all competitions, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic has been in and out of the side through injury, and the less said about Kai Havertz's start to life in west London the better. 13 games in, and Chelsea have won only six - slipping to back-to-back defeats against Everton and Wolves in their last two.

West Ham, meanwhile, have also won six, and have tasted defeat on four occasions - though it's worth noting that those defeats (Newcastle aside) have come away at Arsenal, before they were in crisis, away at Liverpool, who are top of the table again and playing like the champions they are, and at home to Manchester United, who have won six successive Premier League games on the road. They also fought back to draw away at Tottenham, having been 3-0 down after 82 minutes.

Most significantly, the Hammers look far more organised, resolute and together, something that had been lacking at the club for a long, long time. Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal have added some steeliness and class in defence and midfield, while the impressively high work rates of Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Declan Rice have rubbed off on the rest of the team.

Soucek and Coufal represent everything good about West Ham currently
Soucek and Coufal represent everything good about West Ham currently / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

This is no longer a side who head into big games - or any game for that matter - hoping to just come away with a point, there's a genuine game plan that gives West Ham every opportunity of picking up a win. Be it four at the back or five, Moyes sets his side out to be hard to break down, but also gives them plenty of license to get forward in transition and hit teams on the counter.

Factor in that West Ham have only lost to Chelsea three times in their last 11 meetings in all competitions, and there's even more reason to think that the visitors have every chance of claiming a share of the spoils this time around.

It won't be easy, but there's absolutely nothing to fear.

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