Agoraphobics beware

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Eden Hazard of Chelsea. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES


Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

Saturday’s West Ham v Chelsea lunchtime timing suits the Met, but won’t help agoraphobics.

The vast, yawning bowl of the London Stadium holds little appeal to those prone to panic attacks triggered by wide-open spaces.

Most will enter the echoey cauldron anticipating a Blues victory, but the Irons aren’t merely desperate for top-flight survival, they also loathe Chelsea’s recent years of glory, and will put up a ferocious battle.

Man-of-the-moment Eden Hazard will be seen as key, but the war may be won by those in his shadow, including Andreas Christensen, Victor Moses and Danny Drinkwater.

All three are coming good, with Christensen now such a dependable substitute for David Luiz in central defence that the one-time unthinkable is being thought… Luiz could be offloaded in January.

Tony Conte needs reinforcements, and may cash in one wilful wizard for three more pliant recruits.

While last weekend’s comfy win over Newcastle enhanced two-goal Hazard’s profile, it’s the steady improvement of Drinkwater, who began up front, which is also impressing.

He is gaining match fitness and confidence with every step, as is Moses – back from injury, and the lofty Christensen, who just missed scoring his first goal for the Blues on Saturday after his curling header struck the post.

The stat that worries the Hammers, though, is that every Conte-managed game in which Hazard has scored, the Blues have won.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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