From the Newsroom

Evening Standard's Chelsea correspondent Simon Johnson predicts a Hammers victory at Stamford Bridge

Simon Johnson is the Chelsea football correspondent for the Evening Standard newspaper and has been covering the west London club for the last 16-years. He is expecting another tough afternoon for the Blues and feels Dimitri Payet could be the difference once again at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.


This is probably the first time in a long period that West Ham start the game as favourites to beat Chelsea on Saturday.

It is fair to say that Chelsea are in free fall at the moment and have little to play for. You would hope after two cup defeats that they would have a bit of a point to prove, but they have rarely bounced back from defeats this season.

They have obviously been better since Guus Hiddink took charge, but despite going 13 games unbeaten in the Premier League they have only won three of those at home against a struggling Newcastle side, a second-string Manchester City team and Scunthorpe in the FA Cup.

On the basis of that, it has been a poor home record and given how West Ham performed at Old Trafford last weekend, they should not fear playing at Stamford Bridge.

I have been very impressed with the Hammers this season and they are sustaining a top four challenge. The style of play that Slaven Bilic has brought to the team this season is really entertaining to watch.

I also have great admiration for the job he has done, considering the amount of injuries the club had back in November and December.

They were missing key players like Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini and they were still able to minimise the damage.

In recent years I think they would have fallen apart under similar circumstances, but they have not faded away and have remained in contention to finish in the top four and secure Champions League football.

Payet has obviously been the star man and it is like he has swapped shirts with Eden Hazard who was so outstanding for Chelsea last season.

They are very similar with the quality they show on the pitch, but the big difference this season has been that Hazard has lost his form, while Payet has been outstanding and his free-kicks have been superb.

A number of clubs must be wondering why didn't try to sign him last summer and I don't think he was ever mentioned at Chelsea.

He will be one of the main threats against a Chelsea side who are missing Diego Costa through suspension and Hazard who is injured.

The Chelsea fans will wonder where the goals are going to come from and I would expect young forward Bertrand Traore to start upfront. He has scored four goals in his last six games and has been picked ahead of Loic Remy.

Given Hiddink's record it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the game could end up being a draw.

But I will go for a West Ham win as they are full of confidence and I cannot see how the Chelsea players can pick themselves up for this game after crashing out the Champions League and FA Cup in the space of a few days last week.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United