Chelsea v West Ham: five key battles


Chelsea face West Ham on Saturday aiming to avenge October’s defeat at Upton Park. Here are five potential battles we think could be important when the teams meet at Stamford Bridge.

Branislav Ivanovic v Dimitri Payet
Perhaps the key battle. Given John Terry’s possible return to the side, Ivanovic could revert to his more usual right-back position in time to come up against one of the Premier League’s top performers this season. Payet has scored five goals and set up four more in his last six appearances.

John Terry v Emmanuel Emenike
Chelsea will be relieved to have their skipper back, starting a game for the first time since the 5-1 win over Newcastle five weeks ago. Emenike, signed in January on loan from Fenerbahce, is most likely to start up front but Andy Carroll, scorer of the winning goal against Chelsea in October, and Diafra Sakho are waiting in the wings.

Bertrand Traore or Loic Remy v Angelo Ogbonna
Guus Hiddink has his own dilemma up front, with Diego Costa suspended. Traore has impressed in the short amount of time he has played, with four goals and an assist in seven appearances under Hiddink, and could get the nod ahead of the more experience Remy. But whoever plays will face a challenge against ex-Juventus centre-back Ogbonna.

Pedro v Sam Byram
Eden Hazard’s injury means Pedro is likely to take the left-wing spot. It will be a tough test for January signing Byram, who is expected to return at right-back after missing the last three games through a combination of suspension and being cup-tied.

Cesc Fabregas v Mark Noble
Many Hammers fans feel Noble is unlucky to be consistently left out of England squads, particularly given his form this season. A good display against an in-form Fabregas might be one of the last chances he has to gatecrash this summer’s Euros.