Chelsea travel across London for the 4pm Kick Off against West Ham this Sunday. As well as struggling at the wrong end of the table, the Hammers are also the subject of a reported takeover bid from recently departed Birmingham men Gold and Sullivan.
During the week a Super Frank penalty with ten minutes to go saw off any hope Portsmouth had of seeing out a draw, the match finished 2-1. In the first half for all Chelsea’s attacking prowess we only managed one goal and few clear cut chances.
Didier Drogba will hopefully have overcome a back injury, his absence as a target man was obvious, Anelka choosing to float out wide as normal, other then for his goal he rarely stayed in the centre. Kalou started in place of Drogba, and with twenty minutes left was replaced by Fabio Borini, who was eager to impress, close to full time he was very unlucky to finish slightly too wide when he went round the keeper, his finish going agonisingly wide. Both should be on the bench.
Deco and Mikel were both misplacing passes, but with Essien still out, Mikel should keep his place. It would be no surprise if Joey Cole was given the nod against his old club ahead of Deco. At the back Alex staked his claim for a place on Sunday, but the likelihood is that Ancelotti will stick to the more familiar pairing of Terry and Carvalho.
West Ham, managed by Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola and assistant Steve Clarke, have not been in the best of form this season, they lie a dismal 19th, two points off safety and three points off the bottom spot. Old Boy Scott Parker will be likely to start against us, but top goalscorer Carlton Cole misses out through injury.
The Hammers come off the back of three consecutive defeats, their 3-1 loss in midweek away to Bolton being the most recent of them, they also lost 1-0 at St Andrews and 4-0 at home to Man United. The week before that saw an exciting 5-3 home win over Burnley. Allesandro Diamanti scored in midweek and with three goals is joint second highest league goalscorer with Guillermo Franco behind Carlton Cole.
Last seasons match at Upton Park was overseen by Guus Hiddink, after a goalless and lacklustre first half, Solomon Kalou provided the sole goal in the 55th minute to see us to a 1-0 win. Late in the match Kalou nearly turned from Hero to Villian, conceding a penalty, but Petr Cech saved Mark Noble’s effort from the spot. The match last December at Stamford Bridge saw Scolari’s Chelsea side go a goal down to a Craig Bellamy volley, before Anelka levelled the scores.
Joey Cole has always enjoyed a warm reception from the West Ham fans, having been captain of the side that was relegated it was only then that he decided on a move away. Frank Lampard Junior isn’t as liked, and will get a heated reception, after last seasons fixture at Upton Park he threw his Chelsea shirt into the Hammers end and there was a scramble to claim it, brilliant.
The referee for the match will be Mike Dean who last officiated our match versus Stoke City back in August. Mr. Dean has issued 64 yellow cards and 2 red cards in the 19 matches that he’s been in charge. In the match against Stoke, he saw fit to issue 9 yellow cards alone.
Another interesting fact is that we have dropped a point at Upton Park since their return to the top flight in 2005.
Predicted team: Cech, A. Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Ivanovic, Mikel, Lampard, Ballack, J. Cole, Anelka, Drogba.
Predicted Score: We’ve been leaking goals lately, so I’ll go for another 2-1 victory for Chelsea.