There’s nothing West Ham will enjoy more than throwing a wrench in Chelsea’s title-leaning quest – and Declan Rice is the biggest threat to Thomas Tuchel’s side.
The Blues have been explosive domestically without a taste of defeat in more than two months, so they should be confident about scoring another win on Saturday.
But The Hammers own a player in Rice who has the ability to knock leaders out of their stride and put them at risk of being followed Liverpool became an unexpected casualty at the London Stadium this season.
Injuries and forms left behind Tuchel with few options apart from Jorginho in midfield, and when he was on track, he got the European champions ticking off his smart ball ability.
But without the protection of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic or sometimes Reece James by his side, Chelsea there’s a bit of damage in the midfield against tough opponents.
Scott McTominay and much-damaged Fred were able to compete in a recent draw with Manchester United, and in Rice and Tomas Soucek, it is argued that West Ham are much better equipped in that area.
Although the Hammers have looked tired over the past few games, the atmosphere of the London derby will ensure they arrive on time this weekend and Rice and Soucek will be on duty in hunt and destroy in line. midfielder.
The England midfielder is the player that Chelsea and Manchester United can do the most in terms of strengthening the squad, for good reason.
When he was up there, he dominated the games and showed in the first hour of the Euro 2020 final that he could shine against Jorginho in the middle of the park.
If the Hammers gain the upper hand in that area, it will allow them to get dangerous Jarrod Bowen trying to expose Marcos Alonso who is under doubt defensively.
Michail Antonio made an immediate start to Bowen, and then coordinated runs, to be the biggest threat the East Londoners faced in the game.
That is why Mason Mount could prove vital to Chelsea’s chances of success at the London Stadium.
Mount could also be asked to take on a deeper role if Tuchel chooses to ignore Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s claims – and that would put him in a straight battle with his old friend Rice.
They may have grown up together as footballers, but no love will be lost in the 90 minutes as the pair vie for bragging rights.
Mount would need to be in and around Rice and Soucek denied the pair the chance to control the tempo and pattern of the gameplay and anything that could become physical.
If that happens, there are real claims that West Ham will be better equipped to come out on top in that particular battle for dominance.
And that could well be the deciding factor in a game that could end Chelsea’s long run at the top of the table.
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/16927166/chelsea-mason-mount-rice-west-ham/ Chelsea are on the Prem title with Mason Mount back and firing