Chelsea match preview

Barclays Premier League
Chelsea v West Ham United
Sunday 14 December
Referee: Mike Riley
WHUTV - Full audio commentary


* West Ham United head to Chelsea looking for a fourth match unbeaten on the road with just one goal conceded in the draws at Middlesbrough and Liverpool, either side of a 1-0 success away to Sunderland.

* The match will see Gianfranco Zola return to the club he served as a player between 1996 and 2003, and look to end a run of six straight defeats against Chelsea under the previous two managers.

* Zola's men are coming off the back of a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last Monday that means the two clubs are level on 18 points in the division, and both within striking distance of the top half of the table. Tottenham also have a tricky weekend with the visit of champions Manchester United.

* Ledley King's goal in the 68th minute last time out ended a run of 341 minutes that Robert Green had not conceded in the West Ham United goal behind the back four of Lucas Neill, James Collins, Matthew Upson and Herita Ilunga.

* Zola looks set to have plenty of options for the busy Christmas period with the likes of Jonathan Spector, Matthew Etherington, Kieron Dyer and Diego Tristan all getting valuable minutes in a practice game last Thursday. Spector scored once and Freddie Sears struck twice to ensure victory against an MLS select side.

* West Ham United sat 16th in the table before the weekend with 18 points, while second-placed Chelsea had amassed double that haul from the same amount of games.

* Chelsea have won the last six league meetings and a League Cup encounter before that, with the 2002/03 season - when the Hammers did the double over their west London rivals - being the last time the Blues tasted defeat in this fixture. The game at Stamford Bridge saw Zola score for Chelsea but West Ham ran out 3-2 winners.

Last time out

Monday 8 December
West Ham United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Mullins (Di Michele 73), Parker (Tristan 83), Faubert (Noble 58), Cole, Bellamy
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Davenport, Boa Morte, Collison
Booked: Behrami, Noble

Tuesday 9 December
Chelsea 2-1 CFR Cluj
Chelsea: Cech, Ashley Cole, Terry, Alex, Bosingwa, Kalou (Drogba 64), Deco, Mikel (Bridge 87), Ballack, Joe Cole (Belletti 74), Anelka
Subs not used: Cudicini, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Stoch
Goals: Kalou 40, Drogba 71

Team news

* Lee Bowyer has been back in training after recovering from a recent knock and a subsequent virus. The only other injury absentees are Danny Gabbidon and Dean Ashton.

* After a practice game last Thursday, Matthew Etherington could be in contention but the Chelsea game is too soon for the fit-again Jonathan Spector and Kieron Dyer.

* Walter Lopez, Jack Collison, Diego Tristan and Freddie Sears all impressed in the practice game and will also hope to have caught the manager's eye - not least Sears, who scored two goals in the 3-2 win against the MLS select side.

* Eight players are out on loan - Jimmy Walker (Colchester United), Jordan Spence (Leyton Orient), James Tomkins (Derby County), Bondz 'Gala (MK Dons), Nigel Quashie (Birmingham City), Josh Payne (Colchester United), Kyel Reid (Blackpool) and Junior Stanislas (Southend United).

* Chelsea welcome back Frank Lampard, suspended for Champions League duty, while they also have Didier Drogba and Nicola Anelka competing for the usual lone striker berth. Florent Malouda is doubtful with a hamstring problem.


* The teams last met at the Boleyn Ground on 1 March 2008 when three quickfire goals from Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Ballack put the visitors on the way to a 4-0 victory.

* The lineups were:

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Faubert (Solano 66), Noble, Mullins, Ljungberg, Boa Morte (Ashton 46), Cole (Zamora 65)
Subs not used: Richard Wright, Spector

Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Makelele (Alex 84), Lampard (sent off 36), Kalou (Malouda 75), Anelka, Joe Cole (Essien 69)
Subs not used: Cudicini, Drogba
Booked: Ballack, Terry
Sent-off: Lampard
Goals: Lampard 17 pen, Joe Cole 20, Drogba 22, Ashley Cole 64

* Cole will be playing against the club where it all started, making 32 league and cup appearances, scoring eight goals, before his move to West Ham in July 2006.

* Parker also played for Chelsea, making 28 appearances in all competitions, scoring one league goal, between January 2004 and June 2005. The midfielder is one caution away from an automatic one-match ban.

* Robert Green is the only West Ham United player to have featured in every minute of every Premier League game this season, while Matthew Upson, who made his 200th career league start against Tottenham Hotspur.

* Jose Bosingwa, John Terry and Frank Lampard are the only players to have played every minute of every league game for Chelsea this season.

* Lampard and Joe Cole could both be facing the club where they began their professional careers. The former made 187 league and cup appearances, scoring 38 goals, before heading west in June 2001. Cole got 149 games under his belt in all competitions, scoring 13 goals, before his switch in August 2003.

Head to head (last six meetings, league unless stated)
1 March 2008 - West Ham United 0-4 Chelsea
1 December 2007 - Chelsea 1-0 West Ham United
18 April 2007 - West Ham United 1-4 Chelsea
18 November 2006 - Chelsea 1-0 West Ham United
9 April 2006 - Chelsea 4-1 West Ham United
2 January 2006 - West Ham United 1-3 Chelsea

Overall record v Chelsea (all competitions): W 36, D 16, L 37

General information

For ticket information, click here. For details on getting to the Stamford Bridge, click here.

Travel news: Buses will replace London Underground District Line services between Upminster and Barking on Sunday. c2c will run a full Sunday service with minor re-timings on Laindon and Ockendon services.

Weather: The forecast is for sunny intervals. The temperature is not expected to get above 5C.