The 23rd round of the English Premier League will open on February 11 with a match that could be considered a struggle for survival. For West Ham this game will mean the hope of saving themselves from flying into the abyss called the Championship, where they fell last time at the end of the 2010/2011 season. For Chelsea there is no such prospect yet, but in the event of a defeat we could say that the 2022/2023 season for the club will be irrevocably ruined.
The club from Stamford Bridge is experiencing some of its worst times in recent years. After 21 games, Chelsea are ninth in the APL table with 30 points. Sixth-placed Brighton, formerly coached by Graham Potter, are only 4 points away, but that distance already seems insurmountable for his current team. It can now count on Enzo Fernandes and Michal Mudrik, with Kaj Havertz and Christian Pulisic, Marc Cucurella and Mason Mount… But Jorginho, equally important in the game scheme, has left Chelsea, and there is no convincing argument that the team will be able to adapt to the new conditions.
Since the beginning of the year, the club has played only six meetings: five in the EPL and one in the Cup. And the cup campaign for Chelsea ended at Manchester City, to which Potter’s team lost 0:4. In the English league, the club scored only five points in five rounds: a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace and two draws against Liverpool and Fulham (both without goals). Chelsea have lost twice in the EPL: first a hard-fought 0-1 to City and then a 1-2 defeat at home to Fulham. “The Cottagers, traditionally looked down upon by everyone, have not lost to Chelsea once this season. Alas, Chelsea have only scored two goals since the start of the year in the APL: Kai Havertz and Kalidou Koulibaly have each scored once.
David Moyes’ Hammers have played six games since the start of this year: four in the APL and two in the FA Cup. In the Cup, they easily defeated fellow ACL side Brentford (1-0 away) and Derby County of League One, the third-ranked side in England (2-0 away). In the English league, however, their success is more modest: one victory over Everton 2-0, two draws (with Leeds 2-2 and with Newcastle 1-1) and one defeat by Wolverhampton (0-1). 16th place in the APL standings and 19 points on the basis of 21 meetings.
West Ham are now one point away from the relegation zone. It seems that the entire second round will be a huge nerve-racking for the Hammers: recently it was fighting for the league championship place, but now it risks relegation from the Premier League. Plus the game could fall apart if Declan Rice leaves the team: David Moyes considers him much more expensive compared to Enzo Fernandez, but does not want to let go of his valuable player. As for the realization of goals, West Ham have already scored twice this year in the EPL with nominal midfielder Lucas Paqueta and forward Jarrod Bowen. Not bad in principle, but it could have been better.
These teams faced each other in the sixth round of the EPL, and then Chelsea won 2-1 due to goals from Ben Chillwell and Kai Havertz. Now, according to the bookmaker Liga Betting, Chelsea have an extremely small advantage over their opponent before the game. The odds are 2.3 on the Pensioners’ victory and 3.3 on the fact that they won’t achieve it. No, it’s not a double outcome, just an outcome: the odds on a draw and on a West Ham win are the same. By the way, if we consider only double outcomes, then if West Ham won’t lose, offered odds 1.61, but that Chelsea won’t lose, offered odds 1.33. Anyway, in the case of losing a point, the “blues” will be left without Eurocups at all if they do not come to their senses for the remaining rounds.
A draw would not suit both teams, because then they would have to expend even more energy in the remaining rounds. “Chelsea want to break into the European competitions, while West Ham want to stay in the APL. But since the Blues are still in chaos, we’ll give preference to West Ham. For some matches it’s said: “He who wants it most wins”. And the desire of the Hammers is stronger than that of Chelsea.