Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. West Ham United

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  • Eden Hazard is doubtful after injuring his ankle against Stoke
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last nine matches on Boxing Day (W5, D4)
  • West Ham’s last win at Chelsea was in September of 2002

Boxing Day in the Premier League kicks off with a top-four battle as West Ham travel to Stamford Bridge for a London derby.

You can watch the match live at 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN or online via Live Extra.

Chelsea are coming off of a 2-0 win at Stoke City, but could be without their star playmaker Eden Hazard, who is doubtful after picking up a knock at the Britannia. That means Oscar will likely be inserted back into the starting lineup after being left on the bench against the Potters.

[ RELATED: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Jose Mourinho’s men put in a calculated performance against Stoke and will look to do the same as they host a West Ham side that have surprised everyone this season, currently sitting in fourth place on the table. Last season the Hammers came to Stamford Bridge in the bottom-three and managed a 0-0 draw, with Mourinho saying after the match that West Ham play “19th-century football.”

West Ham are enjoying their best start to a season since 1985 and are currently on a run that has seen only one defeat in eleven matches. The Hammers are coming off of a 2-0 win over Leicester City in which Andy Carroll scored both goals, continuing his strong run of form after returning from injury. After many doubted Carroll’s play, the big striker will look to stun the Blues in front of their home fans.

What they’re saying:

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho on the busy holiday schedule in the PL: “At this moment the German guys are on the beach, the Spanish guys are in the Maldives getting sun – everybody else is doing that. But in this country you play on the 22nd, you play on Boxing Day, you play on the 28th, you play on New Year’s Day. There is no Christmas – just football, and I think (the players) deserve respect.”

Hammers’ striker Andy Carroll on Sam Allardyce’s strategy: “Different tactics, different teams. He’s not the same every week. Obviously he wants a win but you’ve got to watch the teams, how they’re playing, how we’re going to break them down and win the game. He’s got loads of different ways of attacking, we’ve got loads of dimensions to go forward. We can do anything. That’s what our qualities are at the minute.”

Prediction:

West Ham has been flying but face a Chelsea side that is unbeaten at home this season. The Hammers put up a fight but Chelsea dominate possession and are just too much to handle for Sam Allardyce’s men.
Chelsea 2-1 West Ham.