History will be made as Antonio Conte, the manager who was the undisputed king of Italian football for some time, manages Chelsea for the first time in a competitive game. Well, he probably would have wished for an easier game to start with. It’s time for a London Derby in the very first gameweek as Chelsea host West Ham United in a late Monday kickoff. As they say, ‘good things always come late’. Potentially the game of Premier League matchday one awaits us tonight as both sides will be keen to get a winning start to the campaign.
Chelsea are on the back of a horrific last season where they set an example for the worst title defence in recent history. Their ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho was axed by the club and Guus Hiddink, on an interim basis saved the ship from sinking. However, there is a sense of optimism growing surrounding Chelsea’s first season under Antonio Conte and we have to wait and see if the master tactician can reclaim Chelsea’s glory in coming years or not.
West Ham will be looking to start the season on a strong note. The East London club shifted to a bigger home venue the Olympic Stadium putting an end to their more than 100-year stay at historic Boleyn Ground. Manager Slaven Bilic made history in his debut season in Premier League as a manager by recording the best ever points tally by West Ham.
A two-legged playoff against Astra Giurgiu stands in the Hammers’ way for making it to the group stage of the Europa League. The East London club probably did the best business in the transfer market bolstering the squad with quality players like Ayew, Nordtveit, Feghouli, Tore et al and the Hammers have what it takes to make a solid top-four bid this campaign. We can expect a classic when the two London clubs take on each other on Monday.
Kurt Zouma is still not back from the knee injury he suffered last season. Chelsea skipper John Terry is slightly doubtful for the game with a head injury but he is likely to play through pain.
Manuel Lanzini, Aaron Cresswell and Diafra Sakho will miss out the game with injuries while Gokhan Tore is doubtful.
Courtois; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Kante, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa
West Ham (4-3-3)
Adrian; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaka; Nordtveit, Noble, Kouyate; Feghouli, Carroll, Ayew
It will be a tight encounter but the game will lack goals. The team who scores first are likely to come out as winners. I would go for a 1-0 win for Chelsea.