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Premier League leaders Chelsea start the difficult festive fixture list at home against high-flying West Ham, with the Blues hoping to get one over their local rivals.

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That will be no easy task given that fourth-placed Hammers are on top of their game at the moment and eager to prove they are genuine top 4 contenders.

Just few rounds into the new season and everybody could see that Chelsea are the main candidates for the Premier League title.

Premier League leaders Chelsea start the difficult festive fixture list at home against high-flying West Ham, with the Blues hoping to get one over their local rivals.

That will be no easy task given that fourth-placed Hammers are on top of their game at the moment and eager to prove they are genuine top 4 contenders.

Just few rounds into the new season and everybody could see that Chelsea are the main candidates for the Premier League title.

 

ast forward three months and not much as changed, with the Blues top of the Premiership table at Christmas with three points to spare.

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However, with Jose Mourinho not exactly deploying squad rotation in the first part of the season, the quick succession of difficult games will be a good test for the Stamford Bridge outfit.

But, having recorded comfortable wins in their last four matches on all fronts, the Blues have been made 1.36 (4/11) favourites to claim maximum points.

It remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho will be making changes to his starting line-up, although he is more likely to field several fringe players in Sunday’s clash against Southampton.

 

Eden Hazard is unlikely to be risked having picked up an ankle problem, while John Obi Mikel should keep his place in the side.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Courtois – Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis – Mikel, Matic – Willian, Fabregas, Oscar – Costa.

West Ham have been nearly as impressive as their local rivals, or maybe even more so when we compare their results with pre-season predictions.

After 17 matches, the Hammers sit confidently in Premier League top 4 and they seem to have no plans to slow down any time soon.

With Andy Carroll back to the side, West Ham now have even more excellent options up front, and maybe there is value in odds of 1.87 (20/23) offered on the Hammers to score.

Sam Allardyce’s charges haven’t been too impressive on the road when facing England’s top sides, losing to both Manchester United and Everton, while taking 12 points from remaining six fixtures.

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Starting defender James Tomkins is doubtful with a hamstring problem, but Mark Noble is back in contention after recovering from injury.

Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Adrian – Jenkinson, Collins, Reid, Cresswell – Nolan, Kouyate, Song, Downing – Carroll, Sakho.

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