PREVIEW: Chelsea V West Ham - A Different kind of pressure.

PREVIEW: Here's a question for you Chelsea Fans. When was the last time West Ham won an away game in the Premier League?. I can tell ...


Here's a question for you Chelsea Fans. When was the last time West Ham won an away game in the Premier League?. I can tell you, back in August when they beat Wolves 2-0. Ever since that game they have struggled away from home and this has been their downfall and the reason as to why they are where they are in the League.

West Ham come to the Bridge with Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola under pressure with two new owners looking for quick results to turn the club round from serious decline and remain in the Premier League. For Zola it will be no easy task. Since they have played Chelsea, West Ham have played 5 away games and have drawn 2 and lost 3 of them.

They face a Chelsea side and a Manager who are in no doubt about whats required tomorrow and for the rest of the Premier League campaign. Its make or break time for Ancelotti and with Inter Milan around the corner on Tuesday these two games will be pivitol to our season. Ancelotti has come under fire after the defeats at Inter Milan and especially Man City and rightly so in my opinion.

The focus tomorrow is firmly in getting the job done for Chelsea and right now (how many times have I said this so far this season) I will take a 1-0 win. I just hope that Ancelotti gets his tactics and selection right for the game. I have expressed concerns about Ancelotti and his selections recently and hope that he makes the right decisions to ensure we get the win.

It won't be an easy game though as proved the case the in first game at West Ham earlier in the season where the sides drew 1-1.


Chelsea welcome back Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti back into the squad after suspension. Zhirkov is available once more while Ricardo Carvalho faces a fitness test on a calf strain. Turnbull comes into the side in goal as Hilario is out along with Petr Cech.

West Ham.
West Ham welcome back Benni McCarthy and Daniel Gabbidon from injury into the squad. Faubert and Ilunga are struggling to be fit for the game.


The Goal Threat: I just can't see West Ham causing us too many problems. Carlton Cole will look to come back to the Bridge and put in a performance and with Diamanti always a threat from set plays its important we keep them quiet.

Midfield: One thing you can say about West Ham is that they have players that will work hard for each other. Chelsea old-boy Scott Parker will be running round working his arse off like normal and will be snapping into tackles to win the ball back. Mark Noble is another player who looks to get on the ball and create, not so sure about his defensive capabilities I have to say, so let's hope he has the majority of his possession within his own half. 

Jack Collison I have to say, looks a real prospect and has a good touch on him. It's unclear if Zola will go with a 5 man midfield and play with Cole up front as he played with 2 up against United and lost 3-0. Added to their midfield are two players that I can't say I have ever really noticed affecting games with note and thats Kovac and Behrami. They will no doubt put in the work ethic as Zola and Clarke come back to Chelsea to cause an upset.

Defence: This is West Ham's weak link and their fans will more than likely agree. Matthew Upson can't do it all on his own and has been left exposed by the players around him. I have to say I am not sure he is as good as the press/media make him out to be and he will have a fight on his hands tomorrow up against Didier

As mentioned earlier, Daniel Gabbidon may come back into the side or it will be Tomkins along side him. Again, a player haven't really heard much of and that says alot in the Premier League. Their full backs will look to get forward and with Ilunga and Faubert facing a fitness battle Spector, again another over rated player in my eyes) could deputise. 

For me their main weakness, as was exposed last week against Bolton is crosses into the box. They struggle against the Aerial threat and against Drogba this could be a real problem. West Ham aren't a big side and will struggle against the height we have that comes up for set plays. 

Goalkeeper: Rob Green is another for me that maybe is slightly more over-rated than people believe. If he played for a side in the top 4 it maybe a different story, but he obviously has talent as Capello rates him. He will be pivitol in their quest for survival and tomorrow as I believe he will come up against a barrage tomorrow and thats no-disrespect to West Ham. 


Goalkeeper: There is no question if you are come to Chelsea tomorrow and Turnbull is in goal you will want to test him. He needs to be alert on set plays and for any free-kicks in and around the box. 

Defence: I would like Carlo Ancelotti to stick with the same back four that played Stoke. Alex should stay in the side next to John Terry. I hope Ferreira keeps his place as he played well and Ivanovic to continue on the right as he has impressed there all season. These two could be very important tomorrow as I believe West Ham will play narrow and compact in midfield with little width at all. If we can get these two up and down the wings we will cause West Ham problems without question. 

Midfield: Now like the rest of you, with Ballack back in contention and Deco seeming to be fit its a question of how Ancelotti approaches the game with his tactics tomorrow. Does he play three up front, a 4-Diamond-2 or the bloody Christmas Tree formation?. I think Malouda has to play. He provides a balance down the left. Mikel will play in the holding role. Lampard will play as normal and could have a big game tomorrow. I predict Ballack will come into the side alongside Lampard. 

The Goal Threat: Didier will play down the middle again and provide Upson with a major test. Anelka will more than likely (again?) play next to him or wide right and Malouda left side of the three. West Ham could be in for a torrid time tomorrow. 


I can see West Ham making life difficult for Chelsea tomorrow but it will depend on how their legs last in midfield as Chelsea will dominate possession at Stamford Bridge. If Chelsea score early its curtains for West Ham. Again, no disrespect to West Ham, but taking into consideration their awful record away from home and our home record (apart from Citeh the other week) I can only see a Chelsea win tomorrow. The question will be "By how many goals exactly?" Would be nice to see Joe Cole involved and to nick a goal.

Referee for the game : Mark (Where's your bald patch gone) Clattenburg


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