WEST HAM UNITED
Stamford Bridge, London
29th January 2014, 1945 GMT
West Ham United make the short 13 mile journey westwards towards Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea FC in the 23rd gameweek of the English Premier League season. The reverse fixture earlier this season finished 3-0 to The Blues with Frank Lampard scoring twice against his former club, with an Oscar goal sandwiched in between. Chelsea have a dominant record over West Ham at The Bridge winning 24 of the 46 games played there.
With transfer headlines dominating the build up to this game and the small matter of an FA Cup tie, Chelsea FC come in to this fixture with Juan Mata unavailable for selection for the first time in 3 seasons. The diminutive Spanish magician left Chelsea this week to join rivals Manchester United for a club record 37 million pounds. While all the attention has been on Mata, Mohamed Salah joined Chelsea from Basel. Some see him as a direct replacement for Kevin De Bruyne, who also left Chelsea last week for German side Wolfsburg. Coming back to the game at hand, Chelsea come into this one in great form having scored 11 goals and conceded just 1 in the last 5 matches in all competitions. The victory against Manchester United last time around at Stamford Bridge would have given Mourinho’s men a huge confidence boost, not only for the matches to follow but also for the title race.
West Ham on the other hand, come into this fixture with just goal difference keeping them one position away from the bottom of the relegation zone. They have recorded just one victory and one draw in the last 5 matches, further heaping pressure on Sam Allardyce’s position as manager. Having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest, the Hammers will have a few extra days rest as compared to their opponents, a fact that may matter little given Chelsea’s depth in squad and Mourinho’s penchant for rotation. On the transfer front, West Ham may have pulled of a huge coup by bringing Marco Boriello to the Boleyn Ground. His signing along with Andy Carroll’s return could prove to be crucial as they try to stay in the Premier League for next season.
Chelsea FC – Team News, Line-up and Formation
Chelsea will have almost a full squad of players to call upon except long term absentee Marco van Ginkel and Fernando Torres, who will be out for a few weeks owing to the ligament damage he suffered against Manchester United.
Chelsea will be expected to line up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Ramires and John Obi Mikel playing in the holding role in front of the defenders. Having played a significant part in Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Stoke City on Sunday, Andre Schurrle could start from the bench. Also, Nemanja Matic who played the full 90 in the FA Cup tie, could play a role some time during the match. As is the norm nowadays with Chelsea, both full backs will be expected to attack down the wings and provide support to the strikers. Ashley Cole has been relegated to the bench off late, with Mourinho preferring the more attacking Cesar Azpilicueta to take the left back role. New boy Mohamed Salah could also come on for some time for his Chelsea debut.
The mood at Stamford Bridge will a bit subdued given fan favourite Mata’s transfer, but an early goal will change all of that. Chelsea will be expected to run riot at West Ham and keep up the pressure on the top 2.
Possible lineup (4-2-3-1): Cech (GK), Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic; Ramires, Mikel; Oscar, Hazard, Willian; Eto’o
West Ham United – Team News, Line-up and Formation
Things seem to be looking up for The Hammers as far as injuries are concerned. Guy Demel is said to have returned to training and striker Andy Carroll is also back playing games after a lengthy absence. After being forced off in the League Cup tie against Manchester City, Joe Cole will be out of this game. Also on the injury list is Mohamed Diame who is awaiting results on a scan. Other than that, Sam Allardyce will have a full squad to choose from.
West Ham are expected to line up in their usual 4-1-4-1 formation. Mark Noble will sit in front of the back four with both Razvan Rat and Demel going up and down the wings from left and right back. James Tomkins is expected to be back after suspension. Given the game is an away fixture, Allardyce will be expected to set his team up to be defensive and hope to catch a break on the counter or on set pieces. Andy Carroll got a good 45 minutes under his belt in the League Cup against Manchester City and looks good enough to play a major role in this game. Carlton Cole’s extension of his contract would also be of good news to The Hammers’ fans.
The fans will also be buoyed by the loan signing of Marco Boriello from AS Roma. The Italian striker has a proven goalscoring record at various clubs and the Hammers faithful will hope that him along with Carroll and Carlton Cole will save West Ham from relegation.
Possible lineup (4-1-4-1): Jaaskelainen (GK), Demel, Johnson, Tomkins, Rat; Noble; Taylor, Downing, Collison, Jarvis; Carlton Cole
Players to watch out for
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
The Belgian international has been in sensational form for Chelsea this season. He is Chelsea’s leading goalscorer so far and will be expected to give the West Ham defenders a tough time down the right side. With Chelsea’s strikers going through a revival in the past few weeks, Hazard will look to support the strikers to add to their tally. Hazard is fast turning into a overall package as a goal-scoring and assist providing midfielder and Chelsea will be looking to him, Oscar and Willian for continued success in the seasons to come.
Andy Carroll (West Ham)
The big English center forward is on the comeback trail and got in good few minutes under his belt against Cardiff and Manchester City. He will be looking to prove a point given that this is a world cup year and much will be expected of Carroll, if he is selected. He should prove to be a headache for the Chelsea central defenders given his liking for a physical battle.
- Jose Mourinho will be looking to complete his 101st victory as Chelsea boss in just 143 games in the Premier League. His milestone 100th win came against Manchester United.
- Both Frank Lampard and John Terry were West Ham youth prodigies. While the latter moved to West London at age 17, Lampard has scored 7 goals against The Hammers in his 17 appearances for Chelsea.
- Mourinho has never dropped any points against West Ham whilst being manager of Chelsea.
Chelsea 3-0 West Ham
All said and done, Chelsea should be able to make light work of West Ham. The latter look desperately short of confidence and the former look at their best form so far. Chelsea’s sharp midfield should be too much for a West Ham defence that has leaked goals lately.
Blast from the past
We look at the reverse fixture from earlier this season at Upton Park. Chelsea won 3-0 on that day.