This time last year Chelsea were looking forward to valiantly defending their Premier League title before a disastrous start saw them struggle. West Ham, meanwhile, defied all expectations in the league having seen club legend Slaven Bilic return as manager, proving as popular in the dugout as he did in the Hammers’ defensive line. The Hammers finished above Chelsea, qualifying for Europe in the process.
In west London, Chelsea’s ship steadied, and in the summer they brought in Italy boss Antonio Conte. The former Juventus boss has nurtured a promising reputation as he takes on a new challenge on English shores.
Diego Costa has been linked with a move before the transfer deadline, but Conte appears confident he can keep the Spaniard. If he stays, expectations will be high that he can recapture the form he showed in his maiden Premier League season. The high profile captures of Michy Batshuayi from Marseille and N’Golo Kante from champions Leicester have shown they mean business.
West Ham have been busy, breaking their transfer record by signing Swansea striker Andre Ayew for £20.5m. He joins fellow new boy Arthur Masuaku at their new London Stadium home.
Chelsea are the favourites, and Bet365 have them at 4/7 to win Conte’s first game in charge. The same bookmakers are offering 5/1 on West Ham, and the draw stands at 3/1 with Boylesports.
Chelsea look good to win, despite West Ham’s good form on the road last season. They will be eager to put right the wrongs of last season, and will want to kick things off with a bang. West Ham are strong at the back, but there will be lots of pressure to soak up. If Chelsea can find their flow, Hammers stopper Adrian will have a busy afternoon.
Bet Of The Match
Boylesports have Chelsea to win by two goals at 15/4, and that is certainly not beyond the realms of plausibility. Given the history between the two clubs, however, it is likely to be a fiery affair. There may be a better bet of the match, though.
William Hill are offering 15/4 for a player to be sent off. While that may sound preposterous so early in the season, it’s tasty game to kick things off. Chelsea have a history of opening day red cards as well, with keeper Thibault Courtois seeing red during last season’s first day draw with Swansea. Stick a tenner on that for a £47.50 return including your stake.