The Blues host West Ham at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day, looking to move six points clear of second place Manchester City.
However, their opponents themselves are looking to cement their place in the top four by claiming a victory, with three points able to move the Hammers onto 34 points - just five points behind City.
It has been a remarkable season for the Hammers, and they enter the game with a full-strength squad. A number of impressive performances have seen Sam Allardyce’s side take points off City and Liverpool already this season - whilst they were unfortunate to lose to Manchester United - and they follow up the game at Stamford Bridge with a home tie against London rivals Arsenal.
Aided by Diafra Sakho and Stewart Downing who have done much to bring a renewed energy and creativity to Allardyce’s side, a strong defence and midfield unit are making the Hammers play with a class and style associated with the club of old, and the coach has received much praised from the Boleyn Ground crowd - who were calling for his head at the beginning of the season.
Although Chelsea will still be favourites as they are playing at home as Premier League leaders, central midfielder Nemanja Matic is expecting a tough game, although he is confident that the Blues squad is ‘mentally prepared to win’ any game they will enter.
“I have seen them in a couple of games this season and I think they’re very strong,” the Serbian international told the official Chelsea website. “We expect a hard game but we go into it with confidence which is very important. We know what we have to do, we know we play for Chelsea and especially at home we have to take three points.
“I think we have to be focused on our game. We are ready for everything and if we play like we are used to playing I’m not scared of anybody.
“It’s always important when you are mentally prepared to win, especially at the moment. We are confident, we are top of the table and we will try to continue like this.”