A look at the recent form guide of Chelsea looks like more of a relegation threatened team rather than European champions. In the past, changing the manager has worked like a charm for the owner Roman Abramovich, as it has more often than not resulted in the team playing well and winning matches. However, under Rafa Benitez things are yet to look up after two goalless draws at home. At least Chelsea fans were entertained under Roberto di Matteo this season with plenty of goals at either end. It has all been about defensive stability under Rafa.
That is little encouragement going into the weekend’s match against West Ham given that Sam Allardyce has made his team extremely difficult to beat when coming up against the top teams. They have drawn against Manchester City, while they lost only narrowly against United a few days ago. One can expect a compact defensive performance from the opposition despite this match being at Upton Park.
Sam Allardyce’s teams are extremely boring to watch, but I feel that Rafa Benitez can give the former Bolton man a run for his money this weekend because Chelsea have been that poor in the two matches under his management.
Even though Carlton Cole was hugely influential as substitute against United, Allardyce is likely to go with the on loan striker Andy Carroll. He may not be on the score sheet often, but he is a real handful. John Terry and Ivanovic will certainly recall his impressive showing for Liverpool in the 4-1 defeat at the end of last season.
Torres has been extremely poor for a month, but he will continue in goal due to the absence of Sturridge. It remains to be seen if he can finally break the goal drought that has just crossed 10 hours. The arrival of the Benitez is yet to revitalise the striker, but West Ham are his favourite team. He even scored the first goal for Chelsea against West Ham.
Benitez will be without John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Sturridge, while Allardyce does not have any major injury concern to his key players.
Last starting line-up:
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Jaaskelainen, Demel, O’Brien, Collins, Reid, Tomkins, Nolan, Taylor, Jarvis, Carroll
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole, Romeu, Ramires, Hazard, Oscar, Bertrand, Torres
Previous result: West Ham 1-3 Chelsea – 11/09/2010 in the Premier league.
Kick-off: 12:45 BST, London