After being accused by Jose Mourinho of playing “football from the 19th century” when West Ham secured a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge back in January, Sam Allardyce is in no mood to roll over ahead of this bumper Boxing Day clash.
The Hammers boss has lit up the war of words again by stating “we’ll see what century we’re in when we are finished there”, as his side prepare to cross the capital to Stamford Bridge.
While the east Londoners are enjoying their best start since 1985, they are still marked up as huge 8/1 outsiders for victory, while the draw is 17/4 and an expected home victory at 1/3.
We pick out a trio of wagers that could pay to follow in this early kick-off.
Chelsea may be flying high at the top of the Premier League, still boasting a 100 per cent record, but a two goal handicap won’t be easy to overcome, with Big Sam in the opposing dug out.
Allardyce has only lost one of his four visits to Stamford Bridge when Jose Mourinho has been in charge, so could boast a mental edge over the Special One.
While the Hammers are a different beast this season, still maintaining a challenge on the European qualification places, it will still be tough to take anything out of the match, so take a punt on the +2 to cover a home victory by the odd goal.
Whether West Ham have changed their style of play or simply have better personnel in the line-up we can probably expect Sam Allardyce to line up in his favoured ‘direct’ style of play, attempting to mop up any Chelsea early on.
Frustrate them long enough, and the pace of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho could look to capitalise on the break.
Nevertheless it is fair to assume that the visitors will look to keep the Blues quite in the opening periods, and we fancy them to do so, but with the likes of Costa and Hazard coming at them, it is still likely that the hosts break the deadlock.
As mentioned above, the Belgian is a terror for visiting defences, and has been outstanding this season.
But one thing that stands out for the Chelsea number 10 is his penchant for entertaining the Stamford Bridge crowd more than any other.
Hazard has scored in six of Chelsea’s eight home Premier League ties this campaign, his whole tally for the season, so clearly enjoys playing at home.
He looks well priced to get on the scoresheet on Boxing Day.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.