Chelsea v West Ham big match preview

Chelsea v West Ham United Saturday, March 13, 3pm Stamford Bridge IF WEST HAM are faced with a few injuries and a couple of scandals the likelihood is that they would crumble under the pressure. Not so Chelsea. First they are likely to be missing Ricardo

Chelsea v West Ham United

Saturday, March 13, 3pm

Stamford Bridge

IF WEST HAM are faced with a few injuries and a couple of scandals the likelihood is that they would crumble under the pressure.


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Not so Chelsea. First they are likely to be missing Ricardo Carvalho, Petr Cech, Deco, Ashley Cole, Juliano Belletti, Michael Essien and Jose Bosingwa through injury for Saturday's clash at Stamford Bridge.

Added to that there are the scandals over John Terry and Cole's off-the-field activities and it all points to the Blues' season falling off the rails.

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Not a bit of it. There was the blip against Manchester City, when they were beaten by former Hammers stars Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy, but they are still in the Champions League, they booked their place in the FA Cup semi-final at the weekend, while the title race looks like going down to the wire.

Maybe the Champions League will be a distraction for them. They take on Inter just three days after Saturday's match, so maybe their minds will be on that, but that is probably too much to hope for.

With the title race hotting up, they are also unlikely to rest anyone either.

Didier Drogba leads the scoring charts with 19 league goals, 25 in all, and considering the problems the Hammers had with Kevin Davies last weekend, it could be a tough afternoon for the defence.

Our old friend Frank Lampard is apparently having a disappointing season, but his 16 goals in all competitions is still seven more than any West Ham player this term, while Nicolas Anelka has managed a dozen strikes himself.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola was quick to point out that his team went to Stamford Bridge last season in a similar precarious position and came away with a 1-1 draw.

That result, aided by Bellamy's thumping strike, was one of their best defensive displays of the season, but it would be asking a lot for them to do it again this time round.

West Ham have managed just one win in their last 10 trips to west London, that coming way back in 2002 when Jermain Defoe and Paolo Di Canio (2) scored in a 3-2 victory, with Zola himself replying.

This season, Chelsea have won 12 of their 14 home games, with only the Man City crushing and a 3-3 draw against Everton blemishing their record.

Nothing in West Ham's form over the last couple of games suggests that they will add to Chelsea's woes.

They will be well-organised and battle hard, just as they did at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago, but if Chelsea get their noses in front, then there will surely be no way back for Zola's beleaguered troops.

There are more important games still to come.

POSSIBLE TEAM: Hilario, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Mal-ouda, Lampard, Cole J, Mikel, Ballack, Drogba, Anelka.

Prediction:

Chelsea 2 West Ham 0

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