CHELSEA have suffered an unexpected blow ahead of Sunday’s London derby against West Ham United after their flight back from Greece was postponed.
Maurizio Sarri’s side had planned to fly out straight after Thursday’s 1-0 win at PAOK in the Europa League.
But bad weather in the UK meant Chelsea were forced to postpone their return flight until this morning.
Chelsea – who have won all five of their Premier League matches so far this season – are now scheduled to land late this afternoon.
And boss Sarri will be further infuriated at the delay having been already been frustrated at the proximity of the Hammers’ clash, before the flight delay emerged.
“We have to play again in 63 hours, on Sunday morning,” Sarri said after the 1-0 win in Thessaloniki.
Eden Hazard and David Luiz are unaffected by the delay as they were rested for the Europa League trip, with Sarri making five changes in total for the Group L clash.
Sunday’s match against West Ham continues Chelsea’s jam-packed start to the season, with a Carabao Cup clash against Liverpool on Wednesday before the two teams meet again at Stamford Bridge on September 29.
Pedro could be rested for the West Ham game after he suffered a shoulder injury in stoppage time in Thessaloniki.
However, the Spain winger tweeted to say “everything’s ok despite the incident at the end of the game”.
The news of Chelsea’s delay will come as a boost to West Ham, whose confidence will have been boosted following a first win of the season at Everton last weekend.
The Hammers won 3-1 at Goodison Park following a sequence of four consecutive defeats at the start of the campaign.
And West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta says Chelsea will not have it all their own way in east London.
“Chelsea have a lot of quality but if we play with the same intensity and concentration as we did against Everton, then who knows? Anything can happen, especially at home,” he said.
“Against Everton, we needed to react. We did and we proved to ourselves we have a chance to win games if we play this way.”
The Hammers enjoyed a good campaign against Chelsea last season, securing a 1-0 victory at the London Stadium and claiming a point in a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.