And so we welcome struggling Chelsea to Upton Park. Despite having spent a fortune in the summer, acquiring the likes of Hazard, Oscar, Marin and Azoilicueta, they`ve seen yet another managerial change and have entered a slump that has seen them go six Premier League games without a vctory whilst also becoming reliant on other clubs to prevent them from exiting the Champions League as the only holders to do so at the group stage. Can we bang another nail into the ailing clubs coffin? I don`t see why not. How about you?
Ahead of the East meets West London derby, James Collins has spoken about the defeat at Old Trafford and the prospect of facing Chelsea, remarking,
“We were disappointed we didn`t get anything out of the game against Manchester United.”
“I imagine some teams who have gone to Old Trafford and conceded an early goal as we did could have been beaten six or seven.”
“The result didn`t go our way but we still have a lot of confidence as we go into the game against Chelsea. I don`t think it`s a bad time to play them. Things don`t seem to be quite right there at the moment, not as settled as in years gone by.”
“They`ve drawn their last two games and I am sure if we play as well as we did during the week we can get a result in front of our own fans.”
“Chelsea are in their League position for a good reason.”
“It`s going to be difficult for us and we will have to defend well but we can hit teams on the break.”
West Ham Team News:
Big Sam has some familiar injury concerns with Jack Collison, Ricardo Vaz Te and Yossi Benayoun all unavailable through injury. There are also mutterings that Andy Carroll may need a fitness test ahead of the game.
On the positive side, Mark Noble is available again after serving his one-match suspension for receiving five yellow cards.
Player to watch: Matt Jarvis
Taking a while to settle down to life at Upton Park but is starting to show signs of what he is capable of It could be an interesting battle watching Jarvis take on the Chelsea full-backs.
Chelsea Team News:
Chelsea come to East London with two familiar faces missing. Their long time stalwarts – Frank Lampard and John Terry – are both out injured. Throw into the mix that David Luiz, their Brazilian centre-back, is suspended and you can see that the problems are, on the back of two consecutive 0-0 draws, starting to build up.
But don`t be fooled, this lot still have some class in their team and the likes of Cech, Cole, Hazard, Oscar and Mata could stroll into most teams.
Player to watch: Oscar
One question I`d like answered! How does somebody so slight and so young looking manage to perform so admirably? One player we need to keep an eye on!
Match Facts & Stats
If we are to leave Upton Park at roughly 15:00 hours on Saturday afternoon with smug grins on our faces we`ll have to do something we`ve not done for 13 games against Chelsea, namely beat them.
In the last 13 meetings (12 in the Premier League and one in the League Cup) we`ve lost 11 times and drawn 2. Quite an appalling record I think you`ll agree. And as for the last time we beat them, that`ll be May 2003 at Upton Park.
The nominated officials for this, East meets West, London derby are;
Referee – M. Atkinson
Assistant – P. Kirkup
Assistant – D. England
Fourth Official – N. Swarbrick
The current European Champions remind me of a boxer on the ropes. With the first few rounds in the bank, they`ve hit a sticky patch and are now reeling waiting for the knockout blow to be delivered. Can West Ham step forward and catch them squarely on the chin? I don`t see why not. I`m going for more misery for the Russian and some joy for Sullivan and Gold, by the odd goal in three.
Our next fixtures, in the Premier League; sees us entertaining Liverpool.