West Ham in the midst of defensive injury crisis ahead of trip to Chelsea

Issa Diop has joined Kurt Zouma and long-term absentee Angelo Ogbonna on the sidelines.

David Moyes has an injury crisis to deal with (Adam Davy/PA)

By Andy Sims, PA

West Ham are in the midst of a defensive injury crisis with three centre-halves ruled out of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.

Issa Diop has joined Kurt Zouma and long-term absentee Angelo Ogbonna on the sidelines, leaving Craig Dawson as the club’s only recognised centre-back.

“We’ve got some injuries, but all clubs get injuries at this time of the season,” said manager David Moyes.

“So I’ve got to juggle and find a way of getting something which gives us a defensive set-up.

“Obviously Issa’s got an injury and Kurt’s got an injury. So we’re trying not really to put any timescales on it, because you’re always hoping you’re going to get your players back quicker.

“It’s really important that we can get them back and hopefully we get them back as soon as we possibly can.”

Moyes will have to weigh up using full-backs Ben Johnson and Aaron Cresswell either side of Dawson in a back three, or even ask England midfielder Declan Rice to step back into defence.

It is not an ideal situation for Moyes ahead of arguably the club’s biggest week in more than 40 years.

The Hammers are still vying for a top-six spot in the Premier League, and face their first European semi-final since 1976 against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night.

But Moyes insisted: “We wouldn’t want it any other way.

“We’re coming up to the end of April, we’re still in Europe and we could make Europe again through our league position.”

Chelsea have lost their last two Premier League matches at home, against Brentford and Arsenal, conceding eight goals along the way.

But Moyes said: “Chelsea were arguably the favourites for the Premier League in the first three months of the season – since then you’ve seen the strength of Manchester City and Liverpool.

“They’re champions of Europe and have a really good squad and manager. They’ve had their ups and downs as all teams do, but they have a top team. It’s just the top two have ploughed ahead.”

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