CHELSEA vs West Ham: Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This afternoon sees the return of Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea take on West Ham.

Obviously a lot has been made of their return and although they’ll undoubtedly receive the warmest of welcomes, I hope they don’t go away too happy as we look for our seventh successive win against West Ham in the Premier League.

Of the returning heroes, Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins says “Gianfranco has legendary status as a player, and Steve was a coach and player here for more than 20 years.  I sincerely hope they get the applause they merit when they step out into that dug-out.  It will be lovely to see them both. They have been wonderful servants to the club, and it will be nice to have them back.  Franco is held in great esteem by our supporters, as is Clarkey, so it will only be fitting they get a rapturous round of applause when they come out on Sunday.”

Gianfranco meanwhile says We will play in a very, very good atmosphere at a fantastic stadium so I am looking forward to it and I believe Steve is also.  I hope that the crowd will give us a good reception.  We were very committed to the Chelsea cause when we were there, but now we have made a different choice. We are starting a new career somewhere else and they have to respect that as much as we respected them when we were players. We are very happy to have been part of Chelsea’s history. It was an honour for me and Clarkey and now we are starting again. Hopefully everybody will understand this.”

On the injury front, Luiz Felipe Scolari is still without the services of Michael Essien (knee), Ricardo Carvalho (knee) and Franco Di Santo (hamstring), whilst Florent Malouda (hamstring) is a doubt. Didier Drogba is available again after serving his suspension, so the Chelsea manager has some decisions to make up front for a change.

For Zola, Kieron Dyer (broken leg) and Dean Ashton (ankle) miss out, with Lee Bowyer doubtful with a hip injury. Matthew Etherington, Freddie Sears and Jack Collison are all fit to play.

 

KEY PLAYERS

CHELSEA

Didier Drogba – if he features for Chelsea today, Drogba should be working his arse off to catch up Anelka’s 15 club goals so far this season.

WEST HAM

Scott Parker – I’d expect to see a few tough tackles flying in from the former Chelsea man who could do a bit of damage if our midfield aren’t lively enough.

 

CLUB FORM

CHELSEA

Chelsea have lost just one game in seven going into this, keeping six clean sheets and conceding just two goals. However, we’ve won only one game from three at home in the league since our defeat to Liverpool. Having said that, Chelsea still have the strongest attack and defence in the league, and go into this game in 2nd place.

WEST HAM

West Ham have won just one game in ten in the league and haven’t scored in six of their last nine. They’re also on the longest current run in the Premier League (10) since scoring more than a single goal in a game. West Ham go into this game 16th in the league.

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Chelsea go into this game looking for their sixth win from seven home games against West Ham having done the double over them last season. In fact, West Ham haven’t taken a point of us since the 2002-03 season, whilst we’ve put 24 goals past them in nine games in the top-flight. Going into this game, Chelsea have twice as many points, twice as many goals and have conceded a quarter of their opponents tally.

Home And Away

League (inc PL): Chelsea 31 wins, West Ham 34 wins, Draws 15

Prem: Chelsea 14 wins, West Ham 9 wins, Draws 3

At Chelsea Only

League (inc PL): Chelsea 20 wins, West Ham 12 wins, Draws 8

Prem: Chelsea 8 wins, West Ham 4 wins, Draws 1

 

LAST SEASON

Chelsea 1-0 West Ham

Chelsea scorer: Joe Cole 76

1 December 2007 – Ref: Howard Webb

 

PREDICTION

Zola hasn’t exactly got West Ham playing free-flowing exciting football away from home, pretty much the same as Scolari with Chelsea at home. The writing could be on the wall for a bore draw here.

 

TEAMS

CHELSEA (from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Bosingwa, Belletti, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Ivanovic, Bridge, A Cole, Lampard, Ballack, Mikel, Deco, J Cole, Kalou, Drogba, Anelka

WEST HAM (from): Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Etherington, Ilunga, Faubert, Boa Morte, Parker, Mullins, Behrami, Bellamy, Cole, Noble, Lastuvka, Tristan, Sears, Davenport, Collison, Di Michele, Bowyer

 

REFEREE

Mike Riley (Leeds)

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CHELSEA vs West Ham: Video Preview

Sunday sees Chelsea welcome Gianfranco Zola back to Stamford Bridge, you can watch the Chelsea v West Ham preview here.

CHELSEA vs CFR Cluj: Video Preview

Chelsea host CFR Cluj at Stamford Bridge tonight in the final Champions League group match. Watch the video preview here.

CHELSEA vs CFR Cluj: Preview

 

 

 

 

Chelsea haven’t exactly excelled themselves in the Champions League so far this season and haven’t managed to win away, so maybe it’s just as well we’re at home tonight. Then again, our home form doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence either so we could be in for a nervy time as Chelsea take on Cluj at Stamford Bridge.

Our 3-1 defeat in Rome and draws away to Bordeaux and Cluj, means a win is a must for us tonight in case the other game in the group conspires against us.  And whilst Cluj can’t qualify, if they play for pride or park a bus on the pitch, we could be in serious trouble.

Michael Ballack certainly seems cautious going into this game, stating Normally at this stage we are qualified but we didn’t play well every game.  We have the last game at home but we don’t have to speak so much about this. We have to win.  Sometimes you can’t explain things and normally at home especially we are very strong.  But in the last weeks with the first defeat for a long time, we lost a little bit of something and we couldn’t make the results that we wanted.”

Cluj’s Yssouf Kone meanwhile is clear the Romanians won’t be bending over to accommodate a seeing to either, stating I heard that Scolari would go back to Brazil if they didn’t beat us.  But if Chelsea don’t beat us tomorrow, he will really be in trouble. We will try our best tomorrow because it is really important for us to go back home with a result. Right now Chelsea are under the pressure, the biggest pressure in the group. Chelsea will have to work hard to beat us but it won’t be easy for them. We will be playing without any pressure. They have big players but we are not bad either. It will be worth more than just three points to us if we win.”

Even with nothing to gain from the fixture, Cluj coach Maurizio Trombetta wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset tonight, claiming “Playing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is enough motivation for us.  Unfortunately for us we have no chance of going any further. But we were outsiders in Rome and won and so maybe with a little luck and concentration, we can to it again against Chelsea.”

As for the Chelsea boss though, he’s having none of it, saying  “Is it unthinkable that Chelsea go out? Well, I don’t think any people in the world are thinking about this, but it is possible because we have given this opportunity to the other teams.  Yes, I am disappointed because of what’s happened. But I don’t think about going out because I believe in these players and I believe we’ll reach the second round. Now I don’t know if it will be in first position or second position because it’s not in our hands, but it’s normal if we think about beating Cluj here in London. But we will need to play better in the second round than we have so far if we want to go on.”

On the injury front for Chelsea, Michael Essien (knee), Juliano Belletti (ankle), Ricardo Carvalho (knee) and Franco Di Santo (hamstring) all remain out of contention. Florent Malouda is a doubt with a slight knock, although Joe Cole could be fit enough to return. Frank Lampard also misses out through suspension.

Chelsea

(from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Ivanovic, Deco, Mikel, Ballack, J Cole, A Cole, Bridge, Kalou, Anelka, Drogba, Stoch.
 
 

 

Bolton vs CHELSEA: Preview

 

 

 

Chelsea travel to the Reebok to take on Bolton this afternoon, with the chance of setting a new top-flight record of 11 consecutive away wins. Chelsea remain the only unbeaten club away from home in the Premier League although they’re without a win in two whilst Bolton have won their last couple of games.

In fact, having started last month in the relegation places, Bolton went on a bit of a run, beating City, Hull, Boro and Sunderland, although slipped up against the Scousers.

Of this fixture and Bolton’s recent form, assistant manager Chris Evans says “Obviously most of the games they play they are regarded as the favourites and I don’t think that will be any different this weekend.  But we are having a good run of form and apart from results, we are playing very well. Even when results weren’t going well for us we felt we were putting a good shift in.  Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve but, if you have the belief, then results will turn and that’s exactly what’s happened to us. Confidence is a big thing in any sport but since the beginning of the season there has been a terrific camaraderie at the club. That’s not something that’s just happened and it’s not false – the players get on well together here and the manager goes to great lengths to foster that.  The one thing we do have is a terrific spirit, a great togetherness and, if you have that, you can align it with ability and you have the ingredients for success.”

On team news, it looks as if Gary Megson has a full strength squad to choose from. Chelsea meanwhile are without Didier Drogba who continues to serve his 3 match ban and could also be without Joe Cole (ankle).  Ricardo Carvalho (knee), Franco Di Santo (hamstring), Juliano Belletti (ankle) and Michael Essien (knee) all remain out.

 

KEY PLAYERS

BOLTON

Johan Elmander – Bolton are scoring goals and although he might not have justified his £8.2million price tag initially, the Swedish striker is starting to look worth the money. The 27 year old, who bagged a couple against Sunderland, is expected to lead the Bolton and could be a real threat to Cech’s goal.

CHELSEA

Nicolas Anelka – again facing another former club, Chelsea will be relying heavily on Nicolas Anelka for goals. With Drogba out and Joe Cole’s run-ins from the wing not an option either, we’ll be looking for Anelka to make his attacking pace count.

 

CLUB FORM

BOLTON

Bolton have won four of their last five games in the league although have lost their last four at home against sides in the current top four. In fact, from the last 24 points available against the ‘Big Four’, Bolton have managed only one point – albeit against Chelsea. Bolton go into this game 9th in the Premier League.

CHELSEA

Chelsea are on the longest unbeaten away run in the Premier League, winning 15 and drawing 2 since December 2007. They’ve won all seven away so far this season although have lost a couple at home so far. Chelsea have won 10 of the 15 games under Luiz Felipe Scolari although a loss today would be their 100th away from home in the Premier League. Chelsea go into this game in 2nd place.

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Chelsea are unbeaten in 9 against Bolton in the Premier League (won 6, drawn 3). The last time Bolton took all three points off Chelsea was some eleven years ago and they haven’t scored against us on home soil for the past 6 years either. Not ideal news for them considering Chelsea are the highest scorers in the Premier League although the Reebok has seen fewer top-flight goals than any other ground so far this campaign.

Home and Away

League (inc PL): Bolton 34 wins, Chelsea 39 wins, Draws 27

Prem: Bolton 3 wins, Chelsea 10 wins, Draws 5

At Bolton Only

League (inc PL): Bolton 22 wins, Chelsea 14 wins, Draws 14

Prem: Bolton 2 wins, Chelsea 5 wins, Draws 2

 

LAST SEASON

Bolton 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea Scorer: Kalou 41

7 October 2007 – Ref: Alan Wiley

 

PREDICTION

Chelsea might well start this one as favourites given their away form although the Trotters are in better form at home, although bearing in mind this game is between a Bolton side who’ve failed in their last seven attempts to score against a Chelsea side who’ve managed 10 clean sheets, I won’t be anticipating a goal-fest.

 

TEAMS

BOLTON (from): Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, A O’Brien, Samuel, Nolan, Riga, McCann, Muamba, Gardner, Taylor, Davies, Elmander, Al Habsi, Shittu, Smolarek, Basham, Cohen, Fojut

CHELSEA (from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Ivanovic, Bridge, A Cole, Lampard, Deco, Ballack, Mikel, Kalou, Malouda, Anelka, Sinclair, Stoch

 

REFEREE

Howard Webb (Yorkshire)

BOLTON vs CHELSEA: Video Preview

BOLTON vs CHELSEA

Venue: Reebok Stadium

Date: Saturday 06 December 2008

Time: 15:00 GMT

 

Tomorrow sees Chelsea travel to the Reebok to take on Bolton. You can watch the video preview here.
 

 

CHELSEA vs Arsenal: Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, after much verbal to-ing and fro-ing in the press this week, today sees Chelsea ‘welcome’ Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, although with William Gallas in the side, ‘welcome’ probably isn’t the best word to use.

Chelsea’s home form leaves a lot to be desired and they’ll be looking for only their fourth win at Stamford Bridge this season, whilst Arsenal could make this their fourth win away. Mind you, if Chelsea manage to take the points, they’ll be consigning Arsenal to their third defeat in succession. Either way, with them being two of the top three highest scorers in the league, we’ll hopefully get a decent game.

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger seems pretty optimistic of a result though, saying “This season we have played better against the top four. We cannot deny that because we lost against the teams who are not maybe favourites to play in the top four. Why? Maybe because they play a different type of football. We want to go into this game on Sunday by believing we can beat them because we know we can. That is all you want your players to do.”

On injury news, Juliano Belletti (ankle), Michael Essien (knee), Ricardo Carvalho (knee), and Franco Di Santo (hamstring) continue to miss out. Joe Cole (ankle) faces a late fitness test, although Alex (groin) is fit.

For Arsenal, Abou Diaby (stomach), Kolo Toure (calf), Theo Walcott (shoulder) and Emmanuel Eboue (knee) are absentees, with Emmanuel Adebayor (ankle), Bacary Sagna (ankle) and Samir Nasri are all thought to be available.

 

KEY PLAYERS

CHELSEA

Nicolas Anelka has bagged eight goals in his last five games in the Premier League, making him the Premier League’s top scoring player so far with 14 in all competitions. He needs a couple more to record 100 goals in the Premier League and Chelsea will hope he gets them today.

ARSENAL

Cesc Fabregas makes his 150th appearance in the Premier League and in his new role as captain, he’ll be looking to see that Chelsea’s poorer home form continues as Arsenal try and claw back some points.

 

CLUB FORM

CHELSEA

Chelsea go into this game unbeaten in five games and ten points above Arsenal.  They’ve won the joint most games and boast the strongest attack and tightest defence in the Premier League, earning themselves 13 points from 15 with no goals conceded in the process. Chelsea haven’t conceded in five games in the Premier League and remain the only professional side in the country not to concede a goal in the second half of a game this season. Chelsea have lost just the one game from 14 with Scolari in charge and just one at home in the last 89. Chelsea have the best Premier League record so far this calendar year, with 23 games won, eight drawn and one defeat. Unfortunately though, although Chelsea have lost just once in 18 Premier League games against London clubs, that defeat came against Arsenal at the Emirates last December. Chelsea go into this game looking to create a three point gap at the top of the table with Liverpool playing Monday.

ARSENAL

Arsenal go into this game off the back of two Premier League defeats. The North London outfit have lost five games so far this season and the fact that they’ve failed to win four of their last five games sees them fighting to hold onto their top four status. Arsenal have won eight of their last 11 London derbies, although only one of those was in the last four games. Of note for the Chelsea defence is the fact that they’ve scored five times in stoppage time this season. Arsenal go into this game in 5th place in the League.

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Chelsea have won two of their last three games against Arsenal in the Premier League, with the Gunners winning just one of their last 12 games against Chelsea in all competitions. Having said that though, Chelsea have lost more games, dropped more points and conceded more goals against Arsenal than to any other team in the Premier League. In fact, in 29 games in all competitions stretching back over the last decade, there’s only ever been one goalless draw. And with 39 bookings in the last seven meetings between Chelsea and Arsenal, a busy day for the ref is a foregone conclusion.

Home And Away

League (inc PL): Chelsea 40 wins, Arsenal 58 wins, Draws 44

Prem: Chelsea 6 wins, Arsenal 15 wins, Draws 11

At Chelsea Only

League (inc PL): Chelsea 23 wins, Arsenal 23 wins, Draws 25

Prem: Chelsea 5 wins, Arsenal 5 wins, Draws 6

 

LAST SEASON

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

Chelsea scorers: Drogba 73, 82

Arsenal scorer: Sagna 59

23 March 2008 – Ref: Mark Clattenburg

 

PREDICTION

I know I’m always pretty negative with my predictions and I’m not going to break with tradition today especially with us being at home. We’ve also yet to look convincing against the ‘big four’ although technically, Arsenal don’t go into this game as one of them, so maybe that doesn’t count? Still, they’re going to come to the Bridge looking for at least a draw – don’t they all?! – and if we don’t impress ourselves on them a little better than we have some sides at home, they could go away with more than that.

 

TEAMS

CHELSEA (from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Ivanovic, Bridge, A Cole, Lampard, Deco, Ballack, Mikel, Kalou, Malouda, J Cole? Anelka, Sinclair, Stoch

ARSENAL (from): Almunia, Sagna, Silvestre, Gallas, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Fabregas, Vela, van Persie, Adebayor, Fabianski, Song, Djourou, Ramsey, Bendtner, Gibbs, Hoyte, Wilshere

 

REFEREE

Mike Dean (Wirral)