With Premier League action set to resume midweek, the league leaders will have to put a pause to their League Cup victory and concentrate on West Ham United at Upton Park. Chelsea’s hopes of winning the Premier League title were handed a boost after Manchester City lost to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. The Blues are now firm favorites for the title with an added advantage of a game in hand.
Let’s take a detailed look at our opponents.
The History of West Ham United
The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. In 1904 the club relocated to their current Boleyn Ground stadium. In 1940 the team won the inaugural Football League War Cup. The club has won the FA Cup three times as well as being runners-up twice. The club is also called “The Hammers” and “The Irons” because it was started in a London Ironworks.
West Ham have struggled in recent weeks. The Hammers have dropped to ninth place after winning only one of their last 10 league games. The players and the manager were booed off the pitch by their own supporters after losing 3-1 at home against 10-man Crystal Palace on Saturday. After a promising start to the season West Ham are in danger of slipping into mid-table and have picked up just three points from a possible fifteen in their last five matches. Form in Premier League: L-D-D-D-L
With no signs of victory from the usual 4-3-2-1 formation, Sam Allardyce might just opt to go with the 4-5-1 formation with either Diafra Sakho or Enner Valencia leading the line. Kevin Nolan might just be back and paired up with Noble in the midfield.
Big Sam may look to make changes after his side’s disappointing performance at home against a 10-man Crystal Palace. The Hammers will miss Andy Carrol up front after he was ruled out for the rest of the season after West Ham announced the striker is to undergo surgery on a knee injury and Carlton Cole who suffered a hamstring injury. The manager still has the luxury of fielding Enner Valencia or Diafra Sahko, who still posses a great threat up front with new signing Nene being involved. Morgan Amalfitano is suspended for the match.
Strength – Key Player
Enner Valencia: Diafra Sakho has out shadowed Enner Valencia in the goals tally after the Ecuadorian front man had a great World Cup earning a move to the Premier League. The striker has 4 goals in the Premier League compared to Sakho’s 9. Valencia is a team player, his pace stretches the best defenses, creating plenty of chances for the team to score. He has a better assist tally and takes fewer shots per game than his striking partner Diafra Sakho. If the Hammers get into a commanding position Valencia will be one of the greatest threats up front.
After a promising start to the season the Hammers have picked up just three points from a possible fifteen in their last five matches and winning only one out of the last 10 league games. The defense isn’t rock solid as it was during the start of the season, their formation isn’t working out for them in the past few games. It is easy for any side to counter attack and score with their full backs attacking upfront making it difficult for the center backs to close down the spaces. Facing a team like Chelsea, who demolish opponents with their counter-attacking skills, Big Sam might just have to give a more defensive structure to his side.
Head to Head
The London Derby has witnessed 94 games overall with the Blues winning 39 and West Ham winning 36. Both these London teams have shared points on 19 occasions.
– Chelsea are undefeated in their last six Premier League matches, and have scored at least twice in their last three away matches.
– West Ham have not scored against Chelsea in their last four matches in all competitions.
– Jose Mourinho has yet to be beaten in seven Barclays Premier League matches against West Ham (W6 D1), while Chelsea have won 13 and lost one of their last 17 BPL matches against the Hammers.
– West Ham have failed to score in five of their last six Barclays Premier League matches against Chelsea, including the last four in a row.
Jose Mourinho’s men would be arriving at Upton Park with pride and great confidence after defeating Tottenham in the League Cup final. Chelsea will certainly be the team dictating the terms on the pitch but will be facing a West Ham squad who will be fighting to earn respect from their fans after a humiliating loss.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt