Venue: Upton Park
Date: Saturday, 25 April
Kick-off: 1500 BST
Right, we buggered up against Everton mid-week, so now it’s time to get our act together unless we want to concede second spot as well. Fair enough we’re in the FA Cup final and still in the Champions League but unless we fancy going through the qualifying stages for next season, we need to keep our focus in the league a bit better now.
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink knows this only too well, saying “We have to be in the first few spots for qualification for the Champions League next year. We have to go for second or third place at least, so we have to take this game very seriously. There’s always a reaction. As we said before, the pressure was always on Liverpool and us not to drop points, which we did.”
On squad news for West Ham, Carlton Cole is out although Gianfranco Zola hopes to have midfielder Radoslav Kovac back. If Scott Parker fails to recover from his injury in time for this it’ll be a bonus for us as well. Whilst for Chelsea, we still have Joe Cole and Paulo Ferreira out long-term and they’re joined in the shorter term by Deco and Ricardo Carvalho who both miss out with hamstring trouble.
Lucas Neill – he might usually play at right, or centre-back but the versatile West Ham captain seems to play wherever Zola chooses to put him. He’s definitely one who likes to attack though whatever position he’s in and we’ll need to keep an eye on him.
Frank Lampard – Playing against his former club (although he couldn’t have picked a worse time to do it after the recent publicity), Lampard’s the only remaining player to have started every league game for us. Hopefully he’ll rise above the stick and continue to prove why he’s our most influential player this season.
The Hammers have only lost one of their last seven Premier League games. At home, they’ve got a 50% return in terms of maximum points. They haven’t lost by more than a goal in 17 games and when they’ve opened the scoring, they’ve lost just one from 14 games. They haven’t conceded in three games at Upton Park although they haven’t managed a win against a top four side this season. They’re a point up on this time last season and they go into this game 7th in the league.
We go into this game unbeaten in six in all competitions. In the league, we’ve managed seven points from nine available and we’ve lost just one game from our last nine in the league. When we’ve opened the scoring, we’ve won 18 and lost just once from 20 games and we still have the tightest defence in the league. We also have the best away form in the league although in terms of points, we’re six down on this time last season, with our worst return for six years. We go into this game 3rd in the table.
HEAD TO HEAD
West Ham haven’t beaten us in seven Premier League games, stretching back to 2003. We won last season’s game 0-4 despite Lampard’s sending off.
Home and away
League (inc PL): West Ham 34 wins, Chelsea 31 wins, Draws 16
Prem: West Ham 9 wins, Chelsea 14 wins, Draws 4
At West Ham only
League (inc PL): West Ham 22 wins, Chelsea 11 wins, Draws 7
Prem: West Ham 5 wins, Chelsea 6 wins, Draws 2
West Ham United 0-4 Chelsea
Chelsea scorers: Lampard 17 pen, Joe Cole 20, Ballack 22, Ashley Cole 64
Sent Off: Lampard (Sent Off) 36
1 March 2008 – Ref: Peter Walton
THIS SEASON’S REVERSE
Chelsea 1-1 West Ham United
Chelsea scorer: Anelka 51
West Ham scorer: Bellamy 33
14 December 2008 – Ref: Mike Riley
Don’t feel particularly optimistic about this one after the midweek game. Zola’s players will be up for it in their push to finish as high as they can whilst our players know the title’s gone and they could struggle to focus. I think we’ll be lucky to get more than a point to be honest.
WEST HAM (from): Green, Tomkins, Upson, Collins, Dyer, Ilunga, Neill, Boa Morte, Stanislas, Nsereko, Noble, Di Michele, Sears, Tristan, Lastuvka, Lopez, Payne, Hines, Kovac.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Hilario, Belletti, Alex, Ivanovic, Bosingwa, Mancienne, A Cole, Terry, Lampard, Ballack, Mikel, Kalou, Essien, Malouda, Di Santo, Anelka, Quaresma, Stoch, Drogba, Mellis.
Mike Dean (Wirral)