Conte sees stiff test at West Ham

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte expects "a difficult game" at West Ham's London Stadium today (March 6).
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte expects "a difficult game" at West Ham's London Stadium today (March 6). PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Chelsea manager Antonio Conte expects an examination when his side return to West Ham's London Stadium today - the scene of one of their four defeats this season.

Only Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have got the better of leaders Chelsea in the Premier League, but Conte's men were knocked out of the League Cup by West Ham in October.

Chelsea have a seven-point advantage over Tottenham as they take to the field at the former Olympic Stadium and he says they will have to produce a much sharper display than they did on their last visit.

"I hope so because the result wasn't good for us and we want to try to take three points," said the Italian. "It will be a difficult game. We all know the difficulty of derbies, but we are preparing very well for this game, in the right way with great commitment and focus.

"For sure it will be a tough game and also we will know the results of the other teams, so there will be positive or negative pressure. But we are ready to play this game and try to do better than last time."

Chelsea's defeat at West Ham occurred amid a run of 13 straight wins in the league and came after Conte made a number of changes to his starting XI.

But, with in-form winger Eden Hazard expected to shrug off a knock received in training, the Blues will be at full strength for tonight's London derby.

West Ham will be without winger Michail Antonio following his red card in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Watford, while Angelo Ogbonna (knee) and Diafra Sakho (back) remain out.

Andy Carroll returns after two games out with a groin injury, however, and captain Mark Noble believes the towering striker could make the difference for Slaven Bilic's men.

"Andy is massive for us whenever he is fit," Noble told the club website.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WEST HAM V CHELSEA

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2017, with the headline 'Conte sees stiff test at West Ham'. Print Edition | Subscribe