‘Good things always come late’ and this can be said about the opening game week of the Premier League. The very last game of the opening game week could potentially be the game of Premier League Matchday one. It’s Chelsea against West Ham United. The two London clubs clash against each other in what could be a crucial result for the two club’s future endeavours.
Antonio Conte approaches his first competitive game in charge of the Blues and probably would have liked an easier game to start with. The Italian maestro was the undisputed king of Italian football for some time but Premier League is a whole new challenge for him. Slaven Bilic made history in his maiden managerial season in English football by recording the club’s best ever points tally and now after their move to the Olympic Stadium, a winning start to the campaign against mighty Chelsea can kickstart a new era at the East London club.
Here are three key player battles that could decide the vastly important encounter.
N’Golo Kante Vs Cheikhou Kouyate
Even though the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez stole the limelight for Leicester City’s amazing title win last season, Kante’s contribution in making the fairy tale possible cannot and should not be overlooked. The Frenchman will play a key role for Chelsea in the coming seasons but will have a tough debut at Stamford Bridge as he has to beat Cheikhou Kouyate to dominate the midfield area. The two midfield engines clashing against each other will be an interesting battle to watch out for.
Diego Costa Vs Angelo Ogbonna
Diego Costa did not have the best last season but the Spaniard’s form improved to some extent in the final few games. The Spanish international now has to perform out of his skin every week or else his place in the starting XI will be in jeopardy as Chelsea brought in Michy Batshuayi this summer. Ogbonna, on the other hand, had a solid debut season at West Ham and established himself as the key man in Slaven Bilic’s defence. Ogbonna will have to watch out for Costa and has to keep him silent if Chelsea have to salvage anything from the game.
Eden Hazard V Michail Antonio
PFA Player of the Year in 2014-15 season, Eden Hazard magically disappeared last season and was one of the reasons of Chelsea’s remarkable downfall. The Belgian superstar will be keen to get back to his best this season and a solid first game of the game will be in his mind. Antonio, naturally a right winger, is likely to start as a right back and is not the best defensively although he can be a menace on his overlaps. The Englishman has to deliver a solid defensive display in order to deal with Hazard who, on his day, can destroy any defence in the world.