Chelsea v West Ham Monday April 8, 20:00 Live on Sky Sports
Chelsea impress at the Bridge
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri gave Callum Hudson-Odoi his first Premier League start, as well as featuring Rubens Loftus-Cheek and Olivier Giroud from the off as the Blues cruised to a 3-0 victory over Brighton. Giroud and Loftus-Cheek were both on the scoresheet, along with Eden Hazard as the capital club moved into fifth, outside the top-four on goal difference.
Chelsea were in control at Stamford Bridge before breaking the deadlock seven minutes shy of half-time. Sarri's side continued to dominate after the interval, enjoying 68% of the ball, firing in 17 attempts at goal and conceding just a solitary shot on-target from the Seagulls. Victory was the Blues' sixth in eighth outings across all competitions.
On this evidence, Sarri - who has been accused of tactical inflexibility all season - could struggle to justify dropping Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek and Giroud for Monday night's match with Gonzalo Higuain, Willian and Ross Barkley potentially remaining on the bench. Pedro and Marcus Alonso remain slight doubts for the hosts.
West Ham dismantled by Everton
Manuel Pellegrini described West Ham's 2-0 defeat to Everton in their last outing as a "complete disaster". The Hammers - searching for a fourth home Premier League win on the spin for the first time in 17 years - had no answer to Everton's energy and imagination. They were only saved from an embarrassing scoreline by Lukasz Fabianski and the woodwork.
West Ham were terrible in the opening 45 minutes and could have been more than two goals down. Right from kick-off the visitors were quicker in body and mind, with Hammers' back four picked apart almost at will, with only a combination of desperate clearances, poor final balls and the alert Fabianski preventing the Toffees from piling on the misery.
Pellegrini's posse mustered only one on-target effort and their toothless display saw a total of just three attempts on goal, their lowest tally in a home Premier League game since 2005/06. Marko Arnautovic now looks likely to make way having put in another tame display, whilst Javier Hernandez, Felipe Anderson and Mark Noble will all expect to be recalled.
Blues expected to cruise on Monday night
Chelsea have suffered a sole reverse in their last 16 showdowns with West Ham at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League since 1999 (W10-D5-L1). However, the Hammers have claimed three stalemates in their most recent five trips across the capital.
Chelsea1.36 have picked up 14 points from a possible 18 (W4-D2-L0) as hosts since losing to Leicester just before Christmas. The Blues have conceded just twice in that recent run, whilst shutting out seven of their last 10 visitors; the home side have W7-D1-L0 against bottom-half opposition under Maurizio Sarri, leaking just three goals.
Two of West Ham's 10.00 last three outings have arguably been their worst performances under Manuel Pellegrini (at home to Everton and away at Cardiff). The other game in this sequence saw the Hammers survive a shock defeat at home to Huddersfield, so the guests certainly don't appear to be in top-notch condition ahead of Monday night's away day.
West Ham are winless on the road since December (W0-D1-L5), firing blanks in five of their last six outside the London Stadium. Over the course of the campaign, the Hammers have departed pointless in eight of 15 road trips - six of which saw the guests fail to score. What's more, United have lost 12 of 16 winless trips to the Big Six since the start of 2016/17.
Oppose a goal-glut
Only seven of Chelsea's 16 Stamford Bridge encounters under Maurizio Sarri have beaten the Over 2.5 Goals1.57 line, with Stamford Bridge fixtures featuring an average of 2.63 goals per-game. Exclude the Big Six and five of the Blues' 11 home dates have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals punters, as just three have produced more than three goals.
Nine (60%) of West Ham's 15 away days have fallen below the 2.5 goals line, although four of their six trips to top-half teams did break the Over 2.5 Goals barrier. Even so, the Hammers' recent ineffective attacking performances suggest the visitors might not be capable of making this a high-scoring encounter on Monday night.
Therefore, backing a Chelsea win alongside Under 3.5 Goals appeals at 6/5 with Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market. it's proven profitable in 11 of West Ham's 14 defeats, as well as 14 of the Blues' 19 triumph this term.
Back Chelsea to win and Under 3.5 Goals @ 6/5 in Chelsea v West Ham