By Tom Blackburn
Winston Reid is expecting a tough game against Chelsea on Monday night but says West Ham can take heart from their curtainraiser triumph over Arsenal 12 months ago.
Chelsea welcome the Hammers to Stamford Bridge as both teams look to open their Premier League campaign with a win, and Reid is expected to start at the heart of defence alongside Angelo Ogbonna.
Reid appreciates how difficult it is to open against a top side, but is hoping they can repeat their 2-0 victory over Arsenal from the start of last season.
“Chelsea, who have a top new manager, will be raring to go and will want to start well and it’s tough against the top sides, but we hope to do what we did last season at Arsenal and pick up a positive result,” he told the official West Ham website.
“Last season, that game really kick-started the season and we hope something similar will come our way. It would be the perfect start.
“It’s going to be tough. Obviously they had a disappointing season last year and have a quality squad, but we want to try and go there and get a good result.”
Last season West Ham competed for a top four spot through much of the campaign, before losing pace and finishing seventh.
Man United winning the FA Cup allowed them to qualify for the Europa League regardless, and they have strengthened their squad.
The Hammers signed Andre Ayew from Swansea last week for a club-record £20.5million, and he is expected to come straight into the starting line up partnering Andy Carroll up front.
Ayew became Slaven Bilic’s seventh signing of the summer following the arrivals of Gokhan Tore, Sofiane Feghouli, Toni Martinez, Havard Nordtveit, Ashley Fletcher and Domingos Quina.
Dimitri Payet could be set to return to the West Ham starting line-up against Chelsea, which would be a huge boost.
The attacking midfielder was given an extended break following his Euro 2016 campaign, but Slaven Bilic revealed on Thursday that the Frenchman could be in line for a surprise start against Chelsea.
In other West Ham news, Paul Merson says this Chelsea player can nullify the main threat posed by the Hammers.