WEST HAM UNITED
Upton Park, London
11 September, 2010
After a hiatus due to international duties, the Premier League will be back in action on this Saturday, 11th September. The Hammers are set to welcome Chelsea at Upton park. The season has not done any favors to Avram Grant’s curriculum vitae so far. West Ham, who are at the bottom of the league table, have lost all three of their matches so far, registering their worst start since 1977.
To make matter worse, rumour has it that Grant might have only three upcoming matches to save his job. Even recent history bets against West Ham in this fixture as Chelsea have not lost against West Ham in the last seven years.
Missed penalties and dubious decisions made by match officials have added to the long list of misery of Grant’s men. The goal difference between West Ham and Chelsea is already 22, only after three matches. The morale of the team is at an all time low. Green seems yet to recover from his World Cup goof-up. The defense is shaking like a pack of cards. The attack line has not done anything worth a mention. Scott Parker and Kieron Dyer have so far been the only two players to keep their fans interested.
The only saving grace for West Ham could be their home crowd support. Last season they were able to hold Chelsea at Upton Park and Grant can only hope of some miracle to stop his former club’s juggernaut.
Meanwhile, Chelsea seem to have hit all the right chords since the season kick-off. All the key players are on song. Malouda has so far scored in each and every match. Target man Drogba has scored a hattrick against West Brom and followed it up with a hattrick of assists against Wigan. Kalou has chipped in with goals. Sturridge, fresh from his exploits with England U-21, is eager to prove his mettle at the highest level to Ancelotti.
If fit to play, Lampard can expect yet another traditional Green Street welcome as there would be no love lost between the crowd and him. For a team that has not yet conceded any goal so far in the league, the defense looks to be the weakest link for the defending champions. With Ferreira operating as the right side-back and Terry’s fitness not yet confirmed, ex-Cheslea forward Carlton Cole would try their best to end their club’s predicament.
Medical Room Updates:
Valon Behrami is expected to return after a thigh injury. Defender Thomas Hitzlsperger has been ruled out and is expected to return next week when the Hammers pay a visit to Stoke City. Collison, Hines and Kurucz are all still out.
Chelsea will be looking to have John Terry and Frank Lampard back after injury. Although both are back in training Carlo Ancelotti may decide not to risk both of them.
Jose Bosingwa is back in training and could be pushing for a start but Branisalav Ivanovic and Gael Kakuta are both out with back injuries.
West Ham United
The Hammers might slot in new recruit Lars Jacobsen in the problematic right back slot. Ben Haim played in both the international matches for Israel. The way Gabbidon got hoodwinked by Giggs et al in their last match, Ben Haim should be ready to take his place. Newbie Victor Obinna might make his debut as well.
Behrami stayed with the club to regain full fitness and should replace Boa Morte. Barrera and Dyer – impressive against Manchester United, to play the wide role to the lone striker Carlton Cole. The probable line-up is:
Green (Gk), Jacobsen, Upson, Ben Haim, Illunga, Parker, Noble, Behrami, Dyer, Barrera, Cole.
Chelsea will probably keep their winning combination intact. However, Lampard is yet to recover from the hernia surgery that kept him out of the England squad. Ancelotti confirmed that Terry is fit for the match, and in all likelihood Chelsea will start with a certitude on the outcome of the match. The likely line-up for the match:
Cech (Gk), Ferreira, Terry, Alex, Cole, Benayoun, Mikel, Essien, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR:
The French skipper is enjoying a fine run of form. The midfielder has scored in all the matches played by Chelsea so far. He was able to echo the same form for France during the Euro qualifier match against Bosnia. Even though all eyes will be on his team-mate, the powerful Ivorian, the French maestro will be a sure-fire at the Boleyn Ground.
West Ham United 1-4 Chelsea
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST: