Chelsea could have the perfect player to face West Ham, but he's not started since October - TCC View
Chelsea against West Ham United is always one to circle in the calendar.
Two local, London neighbours, locking horns in a contest for capital supremacy.
Recent history has told us that this fixture could swing south or west.
The Blues have won the last two meetings. Before that, it was a pair of victories for West Ham.
Successive draws were held in 2018, succeeded by the rivals taking it in turns to taste success for four matches in a row.
Battle of blue and claret
Saturday’s derby at the London Stadium is arguably even more difficult to call than before.
Thomas Tuchel’s team may be top of the Premier League ladder, but their troop has been taking some almighty blows recently.
Up to six senior stars could be missing tomorrow’s match-up, potentially including top scorer Reece James, who sat out the midweek win at Watford.
Meanwhile, the Hammers look like real contenders to disrupt the party usually held by England’s elite this season.
Currently stationed in fourth place, David Moyes can be proud of his side’s efforts so far.
Even with the ability to rotate a fully fit squad, Tuchel would be unwise to take any risks against the Irons.
However, that card has been swiped from his hand.
Instead, he can only throw together what remains of Chelsea’s damaged ensemble.
Rom to the rescue
Luckily, there is one man the manager can almost certainly call to the stand.
Romelu Lukaku continues to creep back into the picture, following his month-long absence with an ankle injury.
The Belgian came off the bench in the last two games, just to ease him back into competitive mode.
With nearly 30 minutes under his belt, surely the time is right to unleash the 28-year-old once again.
And what better opponents for Lukaku to challenge than West Ham?
In 15 meetings with the claret and blues, the striker has netted 11 goals and assisted another four.
That’s more than the centre-forward has managed against any other team he’s faced in his career.
This statistic alone should persuade Tuchel to start the number nine once again.