With five wins from five Premier League games, Chelsea have gone about their business in an assured, yet self-effacing manner. The tactics employed by manager Maurizio Sarri seem to be paying dividends fairly quickly, as the Blues new attacking threat begins to blossom.
Preparation for this weekend hasn’t been ideal however, as their flight back from Thessaloniki was delayed overnight due to bad weather.
Thankfully, not all of their stars made the trip to play against PAOK in the Europa League, with the likes of David Luiz and Eden Hazard resting up in SW6.
A trip to face an invigorated West Ham is on the cards this weekend, and Chelsea will need to stay sharp against a side that have surprised them in recent outings.
Here’s how the away team could lineup at London Stadium:
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – In from Athletic Bilbao for a goalkeeping record of £71.6m, the aptly named ‘Kepa’ has some price-tag to shrug off. Conceding in his last Premier League game, the young Spaniard will hope to keep a clean sheet this week.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – Possibly better in a central role, this man nicknamed ‘Dave’ has shown so much positional intelligence that Sarri feels he is more than capable of another season on the right. Wherever he plays, Azpilicueta’s leadership will be crucial to success.
David Luiz (CB) – Somewhat reintroduced into the side by his new boss, Luiz is flourishing this term. There is no doubt that Chelsea still need to improve dramatically when it comes to defending, but a solidified back line should help matters.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – The big German has locked down a berth since this campaign started, with Gary Cahill now resigned to the bench. Young Ethan Ampadu has shown promise however, and Rudiger will need to stay on high alert if he is to maintain a starting XI berth.
Marcos Alonso (LB) – One the Blues most important players, Alonso’s ability to surge up and down the left flank is truly astonishing. With pace and power added to his exceptional free-kick taking ability, the only doubt is a competence when it comes to stopping opponents.
N’Golo Kante (DM) – The genial Frenchman will bustle about in defensive midfield, completing all tasks before him. One of the best around, he continues to prove that Chelsea’s decision to take him off Leicester’s hands for a mere £32m was fantastic business.
Jorginho (CM) – In from Napoli, Jorginho will be entrusted to set the tempo against West Ham.
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – On loan from Real Madrid, the Croat has come to England with something to prove. An industrious nature combined with fantastic mobility across the central area gives him the edge over Ross Barkley and Cesc Fabregas.
Willian (RW) – With Pedro suffering an arm injury in Greece, it’s likely the Brazilian will get the nod in east London. Scoring the winner on Thursday, his confidence should be high.
Olivier Giroud (CF) – Potentially replacing a largely unimpressive Alvaro Morata, the World Cup winner will try and hold up the ball so his wingers can overlap.
Eden Hazard (LW) – The magic man scored a hat-trick last time out against Cardiff, and looks to be reveling in Sarri’s new system. Near unstoppable while on form, no.10 will fancy himself going up against an ageing Pablo Zabaleta.