Portsmouth match preview

Barclays Premier League
West Ham United v Portsmouth

Boleyn Ground
Saturday 26 December
Referee: Lee Probert


• West Ham United play host to Portsmouth in their second consecutive home match. Gianfranco Zola's side will be looking to build on their impressive display in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last time out in the final home fixture of 2009.

• The teams last met on a memorable afternoon on Boxing Day last year when West Ham United left Fratton Park with a 4-1 victory. That started a rich vein of form that saw the club climb to finish ninth in the Barclays Premier League table.

• The Hammers will be looking to continue their improving home form. In their last seven matches in east London, the Hammers have won two and drawn three with the narrow defeat by Everton and the loss to Manchester United the only blotches on their Boleyn Ground copy book in that time.

• The point against Chelsea meant it was Saturday's visitors and not the hosts that go into Christmas bottom. West Ham United are 19th in the table with 15 points but a win could potentially move the club up to 15th in the table and within three points of tenth place. Portsmouth are a point and place below with the same goal difference of minus nine.

• This will be the 33rd meeting between the two clubs. West Ham United have 12 wins with five draws.

Last time out

Sunday 20 December
Barclays Premier League
West Ham United 1-1 Chelsea
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Gabbidon (Tomkins 19), Upson, Ilunga, Collison, Kovac, Parker, Noble, Diamanti, Franco
Subs not used: Stech, Spector, da Costa, Jimenez, Stanislas, Nouble
Goal: Diamanti 45 (pen)

Saturday 19 December
Barclays Premier League
Portsmouth 2-0 Liverpool
Portsmouth: Begovic, Finnan, Ben-Haim, Belhadj, Hreidarsson, Kaboul, Brown, Boateng (Mullins 89), O'Hara, Yebda, Piquionne (Kanu 89)
Subs not used: Utaka, Hughes, Wilson, Dindane, Ashdown,
Goals: Belhadj 33, Piquionne 82

Last meeting

• The two sides last met at Fratton Park on Boxing Day last year when a Craig Bellamy brace helped the Hammers to a superb 4-1 victory. The teams that day were -

West Ham United: Green, Neill (Faubert 46), Davenport, Upson, Ilunga, Collison, Noble (Boa Morte 73), Parker, Behrami, Bellamy, Cole (Tristan 87)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Collins, Mullins, Di Michele
Goals: Collison 20, Cole 67, Bellamy 70, 83

Portsmouth: James, Wilson, Campbell, Distin, Belhadj, Little (Armand Traore 71), Davis, Hughes, Kranjcar, Defoe (Kanu 73), Crouch
Subs: Ashdown, Pamarot, Hreidarsson, Diop, Nugent
Goal: Belhadj 8

Head to head

(Last six meetings, league unless stated)

26 December 2008 - Portsmouth 1-4 West Ham United
15 November 2008 - West Ham United 0-0 Portsmouth
8 April 2008 - West Ham United 0-1 Portsmouth
27 October 2007 - Portsmouth 0-0 West Ham United
26 December 2006 - West Ham United 1-2 Portsmouth
14 October 2006 - Portsmouth 2-0 West Ham United
Overall record v Portsmouth (all competitions): W 12, D 5, L 14

Next up

• West Ham United travel to north London two days after Boxing Day for a match with local rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Portsmouth play host to Arsenal on 30 December at 7.45pm.


• Saturday's referee is Lee Probert.

• It will be Probert's first West Ham United game for 14 months after he took charge of the 3-2 loss to West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns last September. The Hammers were guided by Kevin Keen that day following the appointment of Gianfranco Zola as manager the previous day.

• He began refereeing in 1986, in leagues local to Bristol, and later in the Football Conference South. He was promoted to the assistant referees' list of the Football League in 1998, and made the step up to full referee in the League five years later.

West Ham United

• West Ham have never beaten Portsmouth at Upton Park in the Premier League with one draw and three defeats. 

• This is the third time in four years that the Hammers have met Portsmouth on Boxing Day, including last year when the visitors ran out 4-1 winners at Fratton Park - their first win over the south coast side since 1993.

• Hanging on to leads is crucial if the club are to pick up their second away win of the campaign. Three times they have failed to convert a two-goal lead into a win so far this season.

• The Hammers have lost six of their seven games when they have been level at half-time.

• At Christmas last season, West Ham were 17th. An impressive second-half run saw them climb the table to finish in ninth place.

• West Ham have scored 26 goals this season with ten different scorers registering. Carlton Cole leads the way (seven), with Alessandro Diamanti (four) and Guille Franco (three) next in line. Jack Collison (two), Matthew Upson (two), Junior Stanislas (two), Manuel da Costa, Mark Noble, Luis Jimenez and Zavon Hines have also registered.

• Cole is West Ham's top scorer this season with seven goals in 13 league games. The England striker has scored 14 goals in 25 Premier League games since Boxing Day 2008.

• Only Robert Green has played in every league game for the club this season. He is on a run of 106 successive league appearances.

• If selected, Matthew Upson will be making his 300 club career appearance.

• Scott Parker has been booked seven times this season, while Julien Faubert, Cole, Mark Noble and Guille Franco are each on four yellow cards.

•  No side have been awarded more penalties than West Ham (six) this season, whereas only Burnley (six) have conceded as many penalties as Portsmouth.


• Portsmouth are looking for back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time in 14 months.

• Avram Grant's side have lost eleven of the 12 games in which they have conceded the opening goal this season.

• If they win, Portsmouth could climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since the opening round of Premier League matches.

Team news

• Both managers have plenty of time to assess their options. Carlton Cole, Kieron Dyer, Danny Gabbidon, Zavon Hines, Luis Boa Morte and Calum Davenport are all definitely unavailable.

• Valon Behrami could return after training with the team all week, although he faces stiff competition for a place after the impressive display against league leaders Chelsea.

• Cole is making good progress from his knee injury and is aiming for a January return.

• Dyer is likely to be out for two to three weeks with a hamstring problem suffered at Bolton Wanderers on 15 December.

• Gabbidon is missing with the hamstring injury picked against Chelesa.

• Hines will be absent for some time because of a knee problem but it is still too soon to know how long he will be sidelined.

• Boa Morte (knee) and Davenport (leg) remain long-term absentees.

• Portsmouth have no new fresh injury worries so could start with the same team that beat Liverpool.

• Former Hammers David James is likely to miss out again with a calf strain, although has been training. Asmir Begovic is set to deputise for the veteran goalkeeper once more should he fail to make it.

Old boys

• Hayden Mullins will return to the Boleyn Ground for the first time since his J26 January 2009 switch to the south coast for an undisclosed fee. He signed for West Ham from Crystal Palace for £800,000 in October 2003 and had been the longest-serving first-team player at the Boleyn Ground. The midfielder, 30, played 178 league games for the club, scoring four goals.

• David James moved to West Ham United for £3.5m on 11 July 2001, signing a four year contract. He played 102 times for the Hammers before signing for Manchester City on 14 January 2004.

• Other players to have played for both teams include: Greg Campbell, Lee Chapman, Jermain Defoe, Bill Ford, Hayden Foxe, Shaka Hislop, Billy James, Glen Johnson, Bill Joyce, Alex McDonald, Nicky Morgan, Sebastien Schemmel, Peter Shearing, Teddy Sheringham, Roy Smith, Stephen Smith, Pavel Srnicek, Alan Stephenson, Ron Tindall, Svetoslav Todorov, Charlie Whitchurch.

General information

For ticket information, click here. For details on getting to the Boleyn Ground, click here

Weather: The forecast is for a bright day with slight cloud and a top temperature of around 8C.