West Ham United v Chelsea Betting Preview
Back Chelsea to reach the EFL Cup quarter finals with a win
West Ham United
It’s been a mixed start to the 2016/17 season for West Ham. They currently sit 15th in the Premier League table after winning only three of their opening nine league games. Slaven Bilic’s men lost five of their first six, but their form since has improved. After narrowly edging past Accrington Stanley in the third round thanks to a late winner from Dimitri Payet, the Hammers have only lost one in five, and are unbeaten in their last three.
Their defensive capabilities came under heavy scrutiny at the start of the campaign after they shipped 14 goals in the space of four league matches, but after two straight clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Sunderland the critics have eased off. Their tally of nine league goals in as many games isn’t quite as high as fans would have wanted, but their form is on the up. The Hammers have never won the League Cup; they’ve been runners-up in 1966 and 1981 but have never got their hands on the top prize. They’ll need a perfect performance on Wednesday to make it through to the last eight and take one step closer to the trophy.
Despite a shaky period towards the end of September, Chelsea have been enjoying a good season so far. Antonio Conte saw his side put four past Manchester United on Sunday in what was one of the most dominant and impressive Premier League performances in recent years. The win moves them up to fourth in the table, only one point behind Manchester City at the top, and nine points ahead of Wednesday’s opponents. The Blues have won six of their opening nine league games, including their last three, in which they’ve scored nine and conceded none – the perfect form to take into this fourth-round tie.
Their 4-2 win over champions Leicester City in the last 32 showed their character and resilience. They turned around a two-goal deficit to take the tie into extra time, before a two-minute double from Cesc Fabregas sealed the win. Conte’s men have now only lost one of their last five away games in all competitions, and that will give them confidence ahead of their first visit to the London Stadium. With five League Cup titles to their name – the most recent triumph coming in 2014/15 – the Blues are more than aware of what it takes to win this competition, and that experience could prove vital in Wednesday’s fixture. I’m backing Chelsea to win in 90 minutes.
Antonio Conte’s side won the last meeting between the two back on the opening day of the Premier League season, coming away 2-1 victors. The win was their first against the Hammers in three games, but means that West Ham have only won one of their last eight encounters with Chelsea, and only two of their last 22. The last home meeting for West Ham ended in a 2-1 win for the claret and blues, but they’ll have to hope for an out-of-sorts Chelsea side if they’re to repeat that result on Wednesday night.
To score – Eden Hazard 6/4
The Belgian has had a fine start to the 2016/17 season, living up the standards he set during Chelsea’s title-winning campaign two years ago. He has scored six goals in all competitions so far, including two in his last two, and with three goals against West Ham to his name I’m confident he’ll find the net again here. Back odds of 6/4 for Hazard to score at any time.
Both teams to score – Yes 8/13
Both teams have found the net in each of the last three meetings. So far this season both Chelsea and West Ham have scored in nine of their ten domestic games, and their attacking quality has been clear to see. West Ham will take confidence knowing that they have only failed to score in one of their last 19 homes games in domestic football, and with Chelsea finding the net in 21 of their last 22 meetings against the Hammers, I’m backing both teams to score on Wednesday night, priced at 8/13.
Match odds – Chelsea 4/5
This London derby is never a dull affair, and I expect the game to be a tight one. Chelsea have been showing very strong league form of late, and their dominant win over Manchester United on Sunday suggests to me that they’ll be very tough to beat on Wednesday night. I’m backing Conte’s men to progress to the quarter finals in normal time with odds of 4/5. A draw is priced at 14/5, or you can back a West Ham win in 90 minutes at 15/4.
Writer’s prediction: West Ham United 1 – 2 Chelsea
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.