Stamford Bridge

Next Game

Chelsea v West Ham

Friday, 26 December 2014, 12:45

Barclays Prem

Britannia Stadium

Last Game

Stoke 0 - 2 Chelsea

Monday, 22 December 2014, 20:00

Barclays Prem

Hazard: Derby win is imperative

Eden Hazard believes a Chelsea victory over West Ham on Sunday is imperative in their bid to finish in the top four.

Last Updated: 15/03/13 at 17:05 Post Comment

Eden Hazard: Desperate for win over West Ham

Eden Hazard: Desperate for win over West Ham

Eden Hazard believes a Chelsea victory over West Ham on Sunday is imperative as the Blues seek to secure a Champions League place.

Last season's Champions League winners will bid to carry the momentum from a successful week into the Premier League clash after keeping alive their two remaining quests for silverware.

Chelsea fought back from two goals down to draw with Manchester United and force an FA Cup quarter-final replay, which - coupled with their progression to the Europa League quarter-finals, where Russians Rubin Kazan await - means Rafael Benitez's side face six games in 16 days.

The international break which follows Sunday's derby with the Hammers offers a pause for breath but first the Blues will seek to enhance their place in the top four as they bid to secure Champions League qualification.

"Three points are a must for us on Sunday - we need to win the match," Hazard, who scored in the Old Trafford fightback, said on Chelsea's official website.

"Chelsea are a big club - we have to win titles and to qualify for the Champions League. There's a lot to do but we'll try to do it all."

Hazard believes the close proximity of last night's 3-1 win over Steaua Bucharest, which secured a place in the Europa League last eight 3-2 on aggregate, could benefit Chelsea against a Hammers side who will be playing just their second match of the month.

"It might favour us at the start of the game because we should be able to set the tempo and get into our stride quicker because we've been more used to playing competitive games recently," Hazard said.

"But where it might favour them slightly is the fact that towards the end of the game tiredness may set in for us, while in effect they should be stronger because they've had a bit of a rest.

"It's something we have to deal with, and with the support of our fans behind us I'm sure we will be able to."

Chelsea suffered the first defeat of Benitez's tenure at Upton Park in December, despite entering half-time leading 1-0.

"At Upton Park, one or two errors crept in, particularly during the second half, but we were very good in the first half," Hazard said.

"We need to try to repeat that first-half display on Sunday and make sure we get a positive result. We are going into the game in good form, so we should be able to produce a strong performance."

There is no doubt Champions League qualification is a must for the Blues - the consequences of missing out could be great - and the fixture schedule is a challenge.

The first leg with Rubin Kazan, who beat Spain's Levante, follows two matches in three days - against Southampton in the Premier League and Manchester United in the FA Cup.

The second leg takes place three days prior to the crucial Premier League fixture at home to top-four rivals Tottenham.

The away fixture could take place in either Kazan or Moscow, with a decision to be made by UEFA shortly.

"From a geographical point of view we probably would have preferred a different draw," Hazard said. "We have to get through and playing in Russia is never an easy game.

"However, we have to make sure we do enough in the first leg to go over there and secure our place in the semi-finals."

If Chelsea reach the Europa League and FA Cup finals, the season will stretch to 70 matches, with Benitez already facing a challenge to best utilise a squad short on options.

Demba Ba is poised to return up front against the Hammers, even though Fernando Torres scored and missed a penalty against Steaua, while Frank Lampard was an unused substitute against the Romanians yet could be back against his former club as he seeks his 200th Chelsea goal.

Ramires, who could make way for Lampard, provided his backing for Benitez, who has been derided by many at Stamford Bridge due to his prior association with Liverpool.

"There's no time to celebrate - the games are coming one after the other," the Brazil midfielder said on UEFA's website.

"Benitez is the coach and we have to do what he says because he wants the best for the team. There isn't anyone better than him to tell us what is best.

"The players try not to get involved in this issue. As long as he's here the players will seek to support him because he's our manager and we want to win."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew

I

m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

cozens
Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce

N

ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

timbo
Van Gaal will thrive - Ferguson

Footer 365

Premier League: QPR look for result against Arsenal, Rio Ferdinand in selection contention

QPR boss Harry Redknapp says Rio Ferdinand could be back in the team as the squad is rotated through the festive period.

Premier League: Nemanja Matic says Chelsea can win quadruple

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic insists the Blues can win the quadruple this season.

Premier League: Ronald Koeman facing selection crisis ahead of Southampton's match against Everton

Harrison Reed's impressive display against Everton has given Ronald Koeman a selection dilemma.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property