West Ham United welcome London rivals Chelsea to the London Stadium for a fourth round tie in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

Blues boss Antonio Conte’s men has already put Slaven Bilic’s charges to the sword this season thanks to a late 2-1 triumph at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the campaign.

Both managers will know that a victory will put them one step closer to cup glory by advancing to the quarter-finals of the competition, and that their players will need to win their individual fights on the pitch to secure the win on the night.

Here are five of the most important battles ahead of the clash:

5. John Terry vs Simone Zaza

International Champions Cup 2016 - AC Milan v Chelsea

Chelsea captain John Terry is set to feature for the first time since he suffered a hamstring strain against Swansea on September 11.

The centre-half will no doubt be a tad rusty after a month on the sidelines, and may unusually be looked upon as a potential weak link in the Londoners’ back line.

Terry, though, could face off against loan forward Simone Zaza at the London Stadium and could fancy his chances of keeping the Italy international at bay.

Bereft of confidence after seven games without a goal for his loan club, and with rumours of the striker already wanting to depart, Zaza may be just the battle that Terry needs to ease himself back into the swing of matches – and ease Chelsea into the next round in the process.

4. Mark Noble vs Nemanja Matic


Considered the two deep lying tempo dictators of their respective sides, Mark Noble and Nemanja Matic will be tasked with instigating attacking moves for West Ham and Chelsea on the night.

The pair also have the ability to break up opposition moves up the field, as well as distributing the ball to more attack-minded individuals to cause havoc further up the pitch.

Matic may have the height advantage over his midfield counterpart, but Noble’s ability to make a nuisance of himself across the pitch may help stifle Chelsea’s forays forward.

Whoever comes out on top in the battle in the middle of the park will go a long way to helping their team potentially throw their hat into the ring for the next round.

3. Dimitri Payet vs Victor Moses

Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League

Dimitri Payet will need no introduction to Victor Moses when the pair face off on Wednesday.

Indeed, Moses will know all about the threat posed by the playmaker, who has returned to his best form after a sluggish start to 2016/17.

However, after performing the role of right wing-back ably over the past few weeks, Moses could cause Payet his own problems with forays down the flank to supply crosses for Chelsea’s forward line.

The 26-year-old, though, will have to be aware that Payet is a master of exploiting space and, if Moses is not careful, he could leave Chelsea open to attack to Payet’s quality if caught up field on a regular basis.

A tasty encounter between the pair down the left hand flank certainly awaits.

2. Michail Antonio vs Marcos Alonso


On the opposite side of the pitch, Michail Antonio will look to best Marcos Alonso down West Ham’s right hand flank.

Alonso has seamlessly slotted into Conte’s preferred 3-5-2 system, but will come up against the physically imposing Antonio in what promises to be a tantalising clash in West London.

The 26-year-old’s ability in the air is well documented, and Antonio will look to get the better of Alonso aerially from any diagonal balls coming from Noble, his centre backs or goalkeeper Adrian to help get his side going in attack.

Alonso, meanwhile, will be aware of Antonio’s lapses in concentration at right wing-back, and could exploit the England international switching off at key moments in the match.

Both players will have to be on guard to prevent the other from landing a telling blow in such a crucial encounter.

1. Diego Costa vs Adrian

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League

With three goals in four outings against West Ham, Diego Costa will be relishing the clash against the Hammers.

The striker already has seven goals in 10 games this term, and will look to add to that impressive tally by firing Chelsea into the quarter-finals.

Standing in Costa’s way will be first-choice shot stopper Adrian, who finally kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season in the 1-0 Premier League victories over Crystal Palace and Sunderland.

The duo already have a tetchy history from the previous meeting in August, and fireworks could spark again between the feisty pair if one antagonises the other.

If either side harbours hopes of progressing to the last eight of the tournament, the contest between Costa and Adrian is certainly the most pivotal of all the clashes on the pitch.

Source: http://www.90min.com/posts/4007465-5-key-battles-between-west-ham-united-and-chelsea-ahead-of-wednesday-s-efl-cup-clash?utm_source=RSS