Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea make the trip to east London this weekend as they face West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday.
It has been another busy week for this summer’s big spenders; beating Liverpool to not only the signing of Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, whose £115 million switch makes him the third most expensive transfer of all-time, behind Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, but also Southampton’s Romeo Lavia in a reported £58 million deal.
With all the investment this summer, the Blues have a fresh look and under the guidance of Pochettino will be keen on switching the narrative after a disappointing 2022/2023 campaign, which saw them fail to win in nine of their twelve London derbies and finish behind west London rivals Brentford and Fulham in the table.
One of those wins came at home to this weekend’s opposition, who themselves had a poor record against their regional rivals last season.
David Moyes’ side was the lowest ranked London club in the league with a 14th-place finish, and while they were able to do the double over newly-promoted Fulham, the Hammers failed to win in ten of their twelve matches, accumulating a mere nine points out of a possible 36.
West Ham, too, will want to amount to more in the league this season, but Chelsea will be a tough test and have proven to be so as the east Londoners have struggled against their western counterparts, winning just twice in twelve encounters since 2017, both of which coming at the London Stadium.
With a point apiece on the board following respective opening weekend draws against Bournemouth and Liverpool, a win in a London derby will be a strong foundation to build momentum upon in the early stages of the new campaign.
David Moyes has a full squad at his disposal ahead of this weekend’s fixture.
New signing Edson Alvarez, who arrived from Ajax last week, is in contention to make his debut after not being involved in their squad against Bournemouth on Saturday.
James Ward-Prowse will be introduced to the London Stadium for the first time after completing his switch from Southampton this week. Moyes has confirmed that he is available for selection but it remains to be seen how much he will be involved.
Mauricio Pochettino will be without a number of players heading into their first London derby of the season.
Captain Reece James underwent a scan on his hamstring on Thursday as it is now feared that the injury that forced him off against Liverpool is more serious than first thought, and will be sidelined this weekend.
Christopher Nkunku (knee) and Wesley Fofana (anterior cruciate ligament) underwent surgeries during pre-season and are long-term absentees.
Armando Broja (knee) and Benoit Badiashile (thigh) are making steady progress but are unavailable alongside Marcus Bettinelli (unknown) and Trevoh Chalobah (unknown).
Noni Madueke was spared against Liverpool as a precaution but is now in contention as Pochettino confirmed that the 21-year-old will be involved on Sunday.
New club-record signing Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia are in line to make their debuts and will be assessed ahead of this weekend’s fixture.
Areola; Coufal, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson; Soucek, Paqueta; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Antonio.
Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Gusto, Fernandez, Caicedo, Chilwell; Sterling, Jackson, Mudryk.
West Ham: Lucas Paqueta
The Hammers’ Brazilian star’s preparations for this fixture has been clouded by speculation and controversy.
Heavily linked with a move to Manchester City this month, that deal has now reportedly fallen through due to an investigation into him by the FA for alleged breaches of their betting rules.
Despite all the talk that’s going on off the pitch, the 41-time Brazil international will have his focus on doing his talking on the pitch as he will play a key role in any West Ham success on Sunday.
After what was a slow start for him in England, he rediscovered his form in a deeper role that allows him to have a greater influence on proceedings and take control of the flow of the game.
Flair and trickery in abundance, he showcases his dancing feet on a weekly basis as he effortlessly skips past opposition’s advances before threading a team-mate into a threatening position with a pin-point pass.
Should he feature, he will have a key role for Moyes’ side, but he’ll need to be on top form as he comes up against arguably the toughest midfield paring he will face this season in Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez.
Chelsea: Moises Caicedo
The final piece of Chelsea’s summer transfer window puzzle has been put into place having signed a sensational midfielder in Moises Caicedo.
The Ecuador international has cost a sizeable fee, which has come under noticeable scrutiny, but there is no doubt that the west Londoners have acquired an incredible talent and one that will take their project to new levels.
It is anticipated that he will sit at the base of Pochettino’s system, either in a 4-3-3 or in a pivot alongside World Cup winner Fernandez, and act as the foundation that a team full of attacking talent will thrive upon.
The 21-year-old is an excellent ball winner and reads the game incredibly well for someone of his age, which will make it difficult for West Ham to spring a surprise on Chelsea. On the ball, he is so difficult to dispossess when in motion and is willing to drive the ball forward, playing a huge role in transition.
Caicedo has won all three of the matches he has started against the Hammers and will be keen to make it four out of four as he looks to start his new life in London on a positive.
Where is the game being played?
London Stadium, West Ham.
What time is kick-off?
Kick-off is at 16:30 (BST) on Sunday, 20 August 2023.
How can I watch?
This fixture is being broadcasted in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League.