Zola out to deny Chelsea

While all the attention may be on Gianfranco Zola's return to Chelsea, the West Ham United manager firmly believes his players can steal the show at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have failed to win three of their last four home Premier League matches, while the Hammers are unbeaten in their previous three away games. Zola, who played 312 games during seven years at Chelsea, insists there will be no room for sentiment when he heads back up the Kings Road on Sunday afternoon.

"I will have no sympathy [for Chelsea] if we win," he said. "Not many people thought that we were going to win in Sunderland or draw against Liverpool but that's football. It makes it even more interesting. It's very unpredictable. You never know, it's a football game. I know that the odds are against us and it's going to be a tough match but you never know."

The last time West Ham United upset the odds at Stamford Bridge was in September 2002 when Paolo Di Canio's brace fired the Hammers to a memorable 3-2 victory. One of Chelsea's goals that day came from Zola, but the former Blues forward is thinking only of a repeat of that result this weekend.

"I remember that game. We lost 3-2 and Di Canio scored two great goals. I scored from a free-kick," he recalled. "It was one of those games. We always had very good matches with West Ham and hopefully the result is going to be the same."

The present-day West Ham's recent revival stalled in the shape of a narrow 2-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Monday evening. However, the manager said he and first team coach Steve Clarke , who played 421 times for the Blues, were fully committed to leading the team up the table - starting with another victory at Stamford Bridge before a busy Christmas period gets under way.

"It's going to be a great game. We'll be playing in a very good atmosphere in a fantastic stadium I'm looking forward to it and I believe Steve is as well," the manager confirmed. "Now we have made another choice to establish a new career somewhere else and they [Chelsea] have to respect that as much as we respected them when we were there as players."

Zola left nobody in any doubt that his present loyalties lie in east rather than west London. "I have a commitment to this club," he insisted. "I will do everything I can for this club because they had every faith in me."