Chelsea have issued a plea for good behaviour to supporters as they prepare to return to the London Stadium for the first time since crowd trouble marred their EFL Cup tie against West Ham in October.
West Ham chiefs banned 94 fans following the violence, which broke out during the closing stages of the Hammers’ 2-1 win and prompted calls for an overhaul of security measures at the former Olympic Stadium.
Since then, the east Londoners have increased segregation between opposing sets of fans and have armed stewards with cameras to film troublemakers. There has been no repeat of the crowd trouble.
Runaway leaders Chelsea can re-establish their 10-point lead at the summit of the Premier League if they win.
“We understand passion will be high at this prominent London derby and as Antonio Conte has made clear, our fans’ vocal backing will be very important for our title challenge in these closing months of the season, but we ask everyone attending to remain respectful and refrain from any violent, threatening, offensive or discriminatory behaviour,” the Blues said.
Chelsea have won 17 and lost just one of their 20 matches since defeat at the London Stadium.
Unlike in that match, they are set to field a full-strength team, with Eden Hazard expected to have recovered from a knock.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic could recall striker Andy Carroll following a month out with a groin injury, but winger Michail Antonio is unavailable due to a one-match ban.
“I am not expecting a repeat of the trouble,” said Bilic. “Of course there could be individual things that may happen but the club has done a really great job regarding that, they have approached it since that game really seriously.”