Pads on, it’s West Ham

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Hat-trick hero Eden Hazard. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES


Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

Hammers midfielder Declan Rice has been given the task of snuffing out the threat posed by hat-trick hero Eden Hazard when the Blues visit the London Stadium at the weekend.

While the creative maestro ran Cardiff ragged at Stamford Bridge, he’ll need shin pads, knee pads and ankle pads to protect himself from West Ham’s anticipated close marking.

The Irons recorded their first win away at Everton, a result which gives a beleaguered team and manager real hope.

But Hazard, the Blues’ most valuable player and the club’s most coveted player, has hit a rich vein of form, forging an intuitive bond with Olivier Giroud, who was given the nod ahead of Alvaro Morata against Cardiff.

The crowd rose to give the 5ft 6in Belgian wizard a deserved ovation when he was subbed in the 84th minute against Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds, and Hazard will look to continue his scoring run in the wide-open spaces of West Ham’s home turf.

And yet the cream of the crop of goals in Chelsea’s 4-1 defeat of Cardiff was a sublime late strike from Brazilian sub Willian; a 25-yard turbo-charged missile, delivered with next to no backlift.

Morrie Sarri wants more out of his team, particularly at the back where David Luiz still looks flaky at times. “We aren’t as solid defensively as I want,” he said. Sunday should be a cracker.

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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