Bad West Ham injury news could give Chelsea a real area to exploit tomorrow - TCC View

Margins, however small or large, matter so much in football.

Gain even the slightest edge over your opponent and the result could swing dramatically.

Chelsea will of course be looking for any vantage point they can get their hands on ahead of tomorrow’s London Premier League derby with West Ham United.

Being three places above the Hammers in the table is simply not enough.

Winning the past two previous meetings also equates to very little.


Mind games

Being the tactically triumphant manager at the final whistle will be the most important matter.

Thomas Tuchel and David Moyes are both astute pupils of the profession, with well over 1,000 matches managed between them.

Photo by Andy Rain – Pool/Getty Images

Both are dogged in their detail, which reflects rather well upon their respective teams.

There is one line in the fine print that Tuchel might just want to inspect closely ahead of Saturday’s showdown.

In West Ham’s last outing – the 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday – Moyes was forced to play Ben Johnson at left-back.

Johnson is typically a right-back by trade but switched flanks due to the absence of Aaron Creswell.

Upper hand on the Hammers

Creswell picked up a knock during the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend and sat out the mid-week fixture.

He may well miss the upcoming clash in the capital, meaning Johnson could find himself on the unnatural channel once again.

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This should be music to the ears of Tuchel, who can surely smell a weakness a mile off.

Although the young Hammers defender coped well against Brighton on his weaker side, the task of containing Chelsea’s attackers is an altogether different prospect.

Johnson could be facing one of Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz or Timo Werner.

A daunting image that few, seasoned campaigners would fancy tackling, let alone a relatively inexperienced 21-year-old prospect.

That’s not to say Johnson has been poor this season, though.

Our West Ham insider Antony Martin, from Hammers News, had some kind words to say about the youngster: “What I will say about Johnson is that he is incredibly mature for his years. He has great recovery pace and is a very good tackler,” he told us.

“He isn’t great going forward and his final ball needs a lot of working on. From a defensive perspective though, he’s very, very good.”

But those defensive skills are sure to be put to the test and in an unfamiliar position, it could be the toughest test of his fledgling career that awaits him at the weekend.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.