- This is the 100th game between the two teams, Chelsea have the edge (w44, D18, L37)
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 6 London derbies in the PL (W4, D2)
- West Ham have failed to score in six of their 11 PL games this season
A raucous crowd will be present as these two old London foes square off in East London on a chilly Saturday night. This won’t be one for the faint-hearted.
West Ham host Chelsea (Watch live on NBC 12:30pm ET and online via NBC Sports Live Extra) at Upton Park in desperate need of a win and some goals. Last year they managed to upset the Blues but a dreadful run of just one win since the opening day of the season sees the Hammers flirting with the relegation zone. They have hastily signed forwards Carlton Cole and Mladen Petric to play up front with record signing Andy Carroll no nearer to a return to fitness and goals have been a massive issue with just nine scored so far.
Times are tough at Upton Park.
As for Chelsea and Jose Mourinho, life hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses this season as his side grabbed a last-gasp equalizer courtesy of a controversial penalty last time out against West Brom. Mourinho is still rotating his squad and Big Sam would love take on board some of the players the ‘Special One’ is casting aside.
This game will be rough and ready and Frank Lampard is sure to get plenty of abuse as he returns to the club he came through the academy but left when the big money of Chelsea came calling. the 34-year-old midfielder has scored three goals in his last four PL games against West Ham but is currently on his longest scoreless streak in the league for over 10 years as he’s gone 10 games without a goal.
The Blues need Lampard and skipper John Terry to stand up and be counted as a feisty atmosphere awaits in East London.
Team news and as we mentioned West Ham have several worries, with Winston Reid out long-term, Razvan Rat a doubt with a hamstring injury and Carroll missing. However Joey O’Brien and James Collins should return.
Chelsea’s Fernando Torres won’t be risked as he recovers from an adductor injury but Ashely Cole will play despite a recurrence of a rib injury.
What they’re saying
Jose Mourinho on West Ham being a difficult place to play: ‘They [West Ham] are defensive and they give difficult matches to the big teams. That’s why everybody is losing points, why no team is dominant, why everybody is losing points but keeping in contact at the top of the table. That’s why this league has emotion every weekend, so I’m expecting a very difficult match.”
West Ham defender James Tomkins on the game plan vs. Chelsea: “We beat Spurs at their place and if we beat Chelsea it would give us a big boost. We’re all confident going into the game, there’s still a good atmosphere around the place and we’re looking forward to it. They’re conceding goals and when we counter attacked against Tottenham it worked for us. That seems to suit our play with our system at the moment and if we can frustrate them and keep it goalless at half time, we feel that we’re likely to get a goal.”
This week West Ham unveiled pictures of what their new sparkling home at London’s Olympic Stadium will look like when the transformation is complete in a few years… but it will be no good to them in the Championship. If they keep playing like they are and refuse to play any recognized strikers then a relegation scrap could be on for Big Sam and his side. I expect Chelsea to stroll into Upton Park and grab all three points with ease. But how many times have we said Mourinho’s team would win easy this season, then they haven’t? It will be a tight, nasty and chippy game but I’m going for a Chelsea win.