Event Date: March 17, 2013 17:00 CET
After a long streak of lacklustre performances under coach Rafa Benitez, it seems that Chelsea have finally got some of their groove back. They completely dominated the second half against Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend and then thumped Steaua Bucharest 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.
While the Blues had won sporadically under Benitez before, the offensive fluency was never there. But in the last two games, the coach has handed the bulk of creative responsibilities back to Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar, just like his predecessor Roberto Di Matteo used to do in his short reign at the club. The trio was one of the most exciting offensive units in the Premier League before Benitez came and broke it up. However, he has started deploying them simultaneously in his line-up once again and the resultant attacking fluency is no surprise.
They are now set to host West Ham United this Sunday and the Hammers, who have lost four of their last six league games, will have to be very careful about not letting the aforementioned trio dictate the pace of the game.
Another positive from the game against Steaua was that the Blues’ flop front man Fernando Torres looked extremely agile and confident, and it was his neat finish that allowed his side to seal their progression to the Europa League quarter-finals. However, it is unlikely that Benitez will start with the former Liverpool man against WHU, as he prefers Demba Ba in the league now.
The last time these two met, the venue was Upton Park and Chelsea ended up losing the game 3-1 to a Mohamed-Diame inspired West Ham despite dominating for large periods. The upcoming game will be played in the Chelsea’s backyard, so a repeat of that result is highly unlikely. The play here is to back Chelsea -1.5 goals with Pinnacle Sports at a return of 2.15.