This is a guest post from Tony Samboras.
Many pundits and ex-players think that Chelsea have already done enough to win the EPL this season and they can not be caught. There is a number though that think that the title race is far from over and it is possible for one of the chasing pack to overtake them after the campaign finishes. One of those that thinks the race to be crowned champions is far from over is Slaven Bilic the West Ham manager.
Chelsea has opened up a 10 point lead and is having an excellent campaign after a shaky start. It took the manager to change formations but once that took place the team have not looked back. The UKs top betting sites all have the Blues as the hot favorites to be crowned champions at the end of the season. If they are going to do this they will need to keep on winning games starting at West Ham on Monday night.
Bilic is confident that his team can cause big problems for The Blues and get the result they need. If West Ham does win it will certainly give the other teams hope that they can be caught. Chelsea has been lucky that when they do slip up that their closest rivals generally do the same. However, a couple of losses on the spin and the EPL picture will look a lot different and momentum will not be on Chelsea's side. London derbies are always fiery affair and this one will be no different.
The EPL is the most difficult league in the world which makes it very easy to lose a few games in a row. If Chelsea is going to regain the title they need to avoid this and be able to bounce straight back after suffering defeat. One advantage the Blue have over their closest rivals Spurs is that they have the players with the experience of winning the league. This could be key once the season hit the crunch end and help to see them over the finish line.
If Chelsea is going to beat the Hammers and put the pressure on the other teams, they will have to cope with Andy Carroll. It is going to be one of the few matches that he plays as he is back from injury. No doubt it will only last a couple of weeks before he is back on the medical table but while fit he can cause any deference problems, especially in the air.
Carroll enjoys playing against Chelsea and it was his performance against the Blue while still at Liverpool in the FA Cup final of 2011/12 that swung the match in favor of the Red. It was a brilliant performance and that day he was unstoppable. The Blues defenders will not enjoy playing against the big man and if he is on form it could be a shock result.
One piece of good news for Chelsea fans is that West Ham will be without Michael Antonio. He is the club’s top goal scorer and is missing due to picking up a second yellow in the match last week.