Chelsea hosts West Ham in Boxing Day clash

London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Chelsea will kick off the festive period on Friday with a potentially tricky fixture against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues rebounded from defeat at Newcastle United with successive 2-0 victories over Hull and Stoke City to stay atop the Premier League table.

But a Boxing Day meeting with fourth-place West Ham awaits, and Chelsea could be without one if its most creative players.

Eden Hazard was the subject of numerous vicious challenges against Stoke on Monday, and the Belgian eventually limped off the pitch with an ankle injury.

But should Hazard fail to feature, Chelsea still boasts one of the league's most talented rosters. For evidence, look no further than Nemanja Matic, who was greatly influential against the Potters. The Serbian midfielder maintained possession with ease while cutting out Stoke City's passes on a regular basis to offer protection for Chelsea's back four.

Matic will need to be at his best if Chelsea hopes to neutralize a West Ham team that has taken 10 points from its last four games, as well as a striker in Andy Carroll who has found the back of the net three times in as many outings.

Should Chelsea drop points against its London rival, second-place Manchester City will be hoping to pounce by claiming a win over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Friday.

Third-place Manchester United will return to action with a clash against struggling Newcastle. The Red Devils will be eager to bounce back from a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa that snapped a six-game winning run, while the Magpies will be seeking just their second win in six league matches.

Southampton brought an end to its four-game slide by cruising past Everton last time out. On deck is a gentler encounter as the Saints will travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.

Tottenham has quietly pieced together an impressive run of form, dropping just five points over its last six Premier League outings. The club will hope to collect its third straight win on Friday when it heads to struggling Leicester City, which has taken just two points from its last 12 matches.

Sunderland will hope to pull further clear of the drop zone when it plays host to relegation candidate Hull City, and Swansea City will go for a second consecutive victory when it welcomes Aston Villa to the Liberty Stadium.

Liverpool is winless in three Premier League matches, but manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side has taken massive strides toward regaining last season's title-challenging form. The Reds will aim to halt their winless run against Burnley at Turf Moor on Friday.

Everton will attempt to find some consistency when it hosts plucky Stoke City, and Arsenal will conclude the Boxing Day slate with home clash against Queens Park Rangers at the Emirates.