Frank Lampard's Chelsea look forward to getting back in form as they take on West Ham United as Premier League Round 14 actions return tonight.
These two ancient London rivals have fought one another on 98 occasions in the English top-flight, and Chelsea boast a slender advantage there (W40, D21, L37). However, they lost last season's battle here 1-0, and defeat will see them complete a run of successive home league H2H losses vs West Ham for the first time since 1996.
After a 2-1 loss vs Wolves in midweek, Chelsea's title challenge has badly faltered, but a home win is widely expected. Usually wasting no time in the act of picking up points, Chelsea have scored their first goal of the game before the 30th minute in each of their last four Premier League (PL) wins, thrice within the 20th-29th minute period.
With four wins in their last six, West Ham are one victory from spending Christmas above Chelsea in the table for only the fourth time ever in the PL's existence (1992-present). Each of those four victories saw the decider arrive in the second half, while all three of West Ham's away wins this term have seen them score exactly one second-half goal.
Notably, the 'Hammers' have never secured successive clean-sheet top-flight league wins at Chelsea. That is a possibility here, but the East London outfit have conceded the +1 handicap and lost both halves in four of their last five PL defeats here.
Players to watch: Christian Pulisic rounded off the scoring in Chelsea's last home win (3-1), maintaining a 100% win-rate from his prior goalscoring PL home games. Opposing midfielder Pablo Fornals (WHU) assisted the winner in last season's H2H here, but curiously, his only prior PL goals have come against opposition that finished in last season's top five (W1, L3).
Hot stat: Eleven of the last 13 league H2Hs have produced under 1.5 first-half goals.