Weblog: The football punter

Champions Chelsea to show their class

Sky Sports Premier League/Mix/Main Event,
12.30pm Saturday

It has been a baptism of fire for David Moyes at West Ham and it is likely to get worse before it gets better as two of the capital’s sides kick off derby weekend.

Creditable in defeat at Manchester City last weekend, West Ham have chalked up a solitary point in four outings under their new boss.

That should read one point from 15 by full-time with Chelsea the visitors to the London Stadium.

Moyes and the Hammers' fans can cling to the fact that they were resilient and organised at City last week and only subsided to the narrowest of 2-1 losses having caused the Premier League leaders a few problems of their own.

But they were taking on City when the champions were off-colour whereas Chelsea are irresistible.

The 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday wasn’t the Blues at their finest but they have lost only one of their last 12 games in all competitions and recent performances against the likes of Manchester United, West Brom and Newcastle were outstanding.

West Ham aren’t in the same league at the moment as Moyes tries to find his best team. He has to treat this game, regardless of the fact that they’re at home, with an away-team mentality and endeavour to frustrate Chelsea in the same way they did City.

In all likelihood it won’t come off and an Eden Hazard-inspired champions can lead Chelsea to victory. Back Antonio Conte’s boys in a game featuring goals.

Goals seem certain because West Ham just can’t keep a clean sheet. Moyes inherited a team with the worst defensive record in the top flight; four matches on and nine more goals conceded and they retain that unwanted record.

Moyes had to take a punt on teenager Declan Rice in his back five last week and he didn’t let anyone down. But the Hammers conceded another two – they’ve conceded at least two in ten of their 15 league games – and they aren’t scoring goals at the other end.

An Angelo Ogbonna header illustrated their threat from set-plays but from open play they look impotent. Michail Antonio and Arthur Masuaku have bags of pace and Manuel Lanzini possesses abundant skill, but as a team they appear almost clueless around the edge of the box.

The Hammers have lost 16 of their last 22 clashes with Chelsea, who have six wins and a draw in their last seven in the league. Four of those wins have been with clean sheets and another win to nil is a
6-4 shot.

In West Ham’s favour is that they have had the week off and there also appeared last night to be a doubt over Alvaro Morata’s fitness.

The negative is that Chelsea are simply a much better team and given how West Ham seem to dislike playing at their new home, the visitors seem to have far more in their favour.

Chelsea & over 2.5 goals

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Match in Focus

12:00 Sa 20Jan SKY

Espanyol v Sevilla

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Sevilla have lost their last three La Liga away fixtures
Expert verdict
Espanyol will be feeling good about themselves after winning 1-0 at home to rivals Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals and they can follow up with a home win over Sevilla, who are not to be trusted on the road. Sevilla are sixth but they have lost seven of their ten La Liga away games this season.