After the international break, a run of nine matches leading up to Christmas begins in the east of London. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look for capital gains…
Chelsea are unbeaten in six league matches against other London sides but a visit to the Boleyn is sometimes a form-book flouter. Much like the Fulham derby, our clashes with West Ham have been less common than might be imagined. It is the 90 years since the initial Division One meetings on 20 and 27 October 1923, a home draw and away defeat for the Pensioners, and up to now we have played each other 99 times.
There was a 26-year gap between 1932 and 1958 and that corner of east London was rarely a happy hunting ground when Chelsea did pay a visit. (See We Have History for more.)
The table turned in the Blues’ favour in the 1990s and a decade later four successive wins were posted behind the Boleyn’s mighty castle turrets. The defeat in 2003 was the last game at there in which Chelsea have failed to hit the target.
Our 3-1 defeat last December at Upton Park was the only time last season we scored first and lost and the only time that West Ham conceded the first goal and won. A fortnight ago the West Bromwich Albion match became the first in which we scored first and dropped points this campaign.
Late goals have become a key feature of the current league season, with the Blues striking seven times from the 75th minute onwards, the most in the top flight. (Manchester United, Southampton and Swansea have each scored five.)
The Blues have conceded once in the same timeframe, whereas only Cardiff City (seven) and Sunderland (eight) have conceded more than our Saturday evening hosts.
The example that will be fresh in the minds of Chelseaites despite the two-week intermission is that Eden Hazard penalty equaliser against the Baggies.
It was timed at 95 minutes and 18 seconds and is the second latest recorded by our club since accurate timings have been taken, edging out Branislav Ivanovic’s fourth goal (from Hazard’s pass) against Reading at the Bridge on 22 August 2012, which registered at 94 minutes and 33 seconds.
Neither come close to Juan Mata’s debut strike on 27 August 2011 at home to Norwich City, which came in at 100 minutes and 33 seconds and is still the latest for Chelsea. The 11 minutes of additional time resulted from an injury to Didier Drogba.
Neither of the others meant as much to the team in terms of points as Hazard’s spot-kick, nor, perhaps, to the player involved. The Belgian’s ice-cool dispatch will have boosted his confidence immeasurably and was his fifth goal in six league and Champions League matches, and his shot had set up Samuel Eto’o’s opener.
Chelsea officially enjoyed 68 per cent of the possession against the Baggies. Further evidence of the meaninglessness of that indicator on its own was provided a day later when Spurs (65 per cent at home to Newcastle), Arsenal (60 per cent at Old Trafford), and Manchester City (63 per cent at Sunderland) all failed to convert possession into points. By Sunday evening Hazard’s goal was looking like a winner.
The international break just endured is the last until the new year. Results for Chelsea following the players’ global excursions have been mixed so far this season: two wins at home to Hull and Cardiff, but a 0-1 defeat at Everton.
Despite no further FIFA interventions the run to Christmas will be busy for both squads after this weekend. West Ham have eight further games before December is out, including a Capital One Cup quarter-final against revenge-seeking Tottenham. Chelsea, with Champions League midweeks at Basel and against Steaua too, face 10 outings over the same timespan.
Sam Allardyce’s squad of 25 has been ravaged by injury and illness and they capitulated 1-3 having taken the lead at Norwich two weeks ago. Although that meant four Premier League games without a win, the Hammers are stronger at home and have kept six clean sheets in 11 matches. Allardyce’s main concern is that they have stopped scoring too, managing just two goals in the last four league games.
‘Our points total is less than the games we have played,’ said the manager last weekend, ‘which is very, very dangerous.’
The sight of the former Bolton stopper on Saturday will remind some Chelsea fans of another memorable late goal 35 years ago at the Bridge. Substitute Clive Walker inspired a young Blues side to overturn a 0-3 deficit into a 3-3 draw with three minutes to go. Two minutes later Allardyce attempted to clear a low cross but only succeeded in turning it into his own net to gift Ken Shellito’s team a remarkable comeback victory.
Southampton’s top three credentials face a test at Emirates this weekend, where two of their most recent trips have ended in 6-1 defeats. Roberto Martinez lost three of his eight encounters with Liverpool while manager of Wigan; Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers has not beaten Everton in four attempts. Cardiff and Manchester United have not met since March 1975 in the old Second Division.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Everton v Liverpool 12.45pm BT Sport
Arsenal v Southampton 3pm
Fulham v Swansea 3pm
Hull v Crystal Palace 3pm
Newcastle v Norwich 3pm
Stoke v Sunderland 3pm
West Ham v Chelsea 5.30pm Sky Sports
Manchester City v Tottenham 1.30pm Sky Sports
Cardiff v Manchester United 4pm Sky Sports
West Brom v Aston Villa 8pm Sky Sports
Only Southampton and Tottenham have conceded fewer goals than Chelsea’s 10 in 11 league outings
Our defeat at Newcastle in our last away game was only our second in our last 19 Barclays Premier League matches.
The Blues have scored four goals in our five away league games this term, failing to score in three of them. We have won five points from a possible 15.
We have gained five points with late goals against Norwich, Man City and West Brom
In our last 19 Premier League games we have won 41 points from a possible 57.
|Oct 22||Schalke (Champions League a)||W 3-0|
|Oct 27||Manchester City (h)||W 2-1|
|Oct 29||Arsenal (Capital One Cup a)||W 2-0|
|Nov 2||Newcastle (a)||L 0-2|
|Nov 6||Schalke (Champions League h)||W 3-0|
|Nov 9||West Brom (h)||D 2-2|
Premier League scorers (18)
Hazard 4 (1 pen), Oscar 4, Eto’o 2, Ivanovic 1, Lampard 1, Mikel 1, Schürrle 1, Terry 1, Torres 1, Willian 1, own goal 1
League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 2
An away defeat: 0
|Tue 26 Nov||Basel (Champions League) away||7.45pm|
|Sun 1 Dec||Southampton home||4.10pm|
|Wed 4 Dec||Sunderland (Premier League) away||7.45pm|
Michael Essien’s next appearance will be his 250th for the club.
WEST HAM STATS
3 FA Cups, last in 1980
1 European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965
1 FA Charity Shield in 1964 (shared with Liverpool)
Premier League – 10th
FA Cup – Third round
Capital One Cup – Third round
West Ham have won four points from a possible 15 at Upton Park this term. Their only home win was on the opening day against Cardiff. Since then they have lost three to Stoke, Everton and Man City and drawn to Aston Villa in their last match at Upton Park.
The Hammers have not gained any points from losing positions.
Only Sunderland and Crystal Palace have scored fewer than West Ham’s nine and they have failed to score in six of their eleven Premier League matches.
Only Tottenham with seven have kept more league clean sheets than West Ham’s six.
Manager Sam Allardyce
Days in charge: 906
|2003/04||74||4th||League Division One||2|
|Oct 6||Tottenham (a)||W 3-0|
|Oct 19||Man City (h)||L 1-3|
|Oct 27||Swansea (a)||D 0-0|
|Oct 29||Burnley (Capital One Cup a)||W 2-0|
|Nov 2||Aston Villa (a)||D 0-0|
|Nov 9||Norwich (a)||L 1-3|
Premier League scorers: (9)
Morrison 3, Vaz Te 2, J Cole 1, Noble 1 (pen), Nolan 1, Reid 1
League games since
A home win: 4
A home draw: 0
A home defeat: 1
HAMMERS’ MAJOR SUMMER MOVES AND AUTUMN LOANS
Ins Razvan Rat (Shakhtar Donetsk, free), Adrian (Real Betis, free), Andy Carroll (Liverpool, £15m), Danny Whitehead (Stockport, undisclosed), Stewart Downing (Liverpool, £5m), Mladen Petric (Fulham, free)
Outs Gary O’Neil (QPR, free), Robert Hamm (Bolton, £450,000)
NB Carlton Cole left on 30 June at the end of his contract but re-signed on 14 October
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
The referee is Chris Foy. He is handling a Chelsea game for the first time since our FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City in April.
There are no suspensions.
Branislav Ivanovic is one domestic booking away from a suspension having received four yellow cards this season.
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.
– Join Jason Cundy, Graham Stuart and Tommy Langley live in the Chelsea TV studio on Saturday as they bring the latest team news and exclusive player interviews ahead of the game. The programme begins at 4.30pm.