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Preview: West Ham vs Chelsea – latest team and injury news, predicted XI

West Ham United will make the short trip to west London to take on Chelsea this afternoon as the Hammers look to boost their chances of a top-six finish in the Premier League.

The Blues already look set to finish third in the league whilst the Irons’ fate is still uncertain with Wolves and Manchester United also in the hunt for sixth place.

David Moyes’ men will take confidence from the fact that they beat Thomas Tuchel’s side 3-2 in the reverse fixture with every remaining game now vital for the east London club.

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Can you name all 10 ex-Hammers? First up... He assisted the first goal at the London Stadium but made only 8 appearances for the Irons, who is he?

With a crunch first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Frankfurt on Thursday, will the Scotsman prioritise Europe and look to make changes against Chelsea? Here is how Football FanCast expects the Hammers to line up.

West Ham XI: Fabianski, Johnson, Dawson, Alese, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Lanzini, Benrahma, Antonio

As expected there’s no change in goal as Lukasz Fabianski continues his role as league goalkeeper whilst there’s a major change in the defence with Issa Diop now ruled out with an ankle injury.

With Craig Dawson the only fit senior centre-back, we expect Moyes to finally give an opportunity to exciting youngster Aji Alese.

The 6 foot 3 Nigerian has been excellent for the Hammers’ U23s this season and was described as “gold dust” by Tom Edwards on the We Are West Ham Podcast.

Moreover, the 21-year-old is a left-footed centre-back so should slot in next to Dawson perfectly as he gears up to make a potential Premier League debut.

Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice are set to continue their partnership in front of the back four whilst there is another change in the attacking midfield trio with Moyes playing his usual 4-2-3-1 set-up.

Nikola Vlasic was handed a rare league start against Burnley last weekend and failed to deliver once again, therefore we expect the Croatian to be replaced by Said Benrahma to add much-needed creativity to the side and support for striker Michail Antonio.

The £69k-per-week 24-year-old has endured a tough first season in claret and blue, scoring just one goal in all competitions.

Despite playing a London rival in Chelsea, this afternoon’s match is crucial if West Ham are serious about securing a top-six finish, with other sides in the hunt breathing down their neck.

AND in other news, Moyes can axe “superb” £50m ace with WHU swoop for “one of the most exciting talents”…

Article title: Preview: West Ham vs Chelsea – latest team and injury news, predicted XI

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