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Chelsea v West Ham United - Match Preview

Filed: Friday, 22nd April 2011
By: Preview Percy

As an older gentleman Preview Percy was pleased to see a brass band at the Boleyn last weekend. That's about all he enjoyed though. He's equally grumpy about our chances this weekend. He probably thinks that this weather won't last either.....

Next we pop along to West London to visit Chelsea in a 5.30pm kick-off. You can tell we’re away this weekend. Upton Park tube is open.

Before I take a look at this match I should add the congratulations of all of us at the Benni McCarthy Home For The Bewildered to the plaudits given to Footballer Of The Year Scott Parker. A well-deserved award and it makes a pleasant change to see our normally blinkered press corps looking outside the big four for a change.

Chelsea currently lie in second place, some six points off top spot and they still entertain some hope of taking the title from Man Utd. Their current form suggests that title talk is not completely out of the question, with them taking 16 points from their last 6 matches, the one draw coming at Stoke.

Their obnoxious skipper has been in the news this week, having bunged a few bob in the direction of Senrab FC, a boys’ side for whom he used to play. This of course comes over in the media as a nice heart-warming gesture, which, presumably, was the whole point. Meanwhile of course those clubs who have suffered in the past at the hands of Senrab’s, er, unorthodox, recruitment policy will be even worse off than they were before.

In amongst the recent furore surrounding Terry’s position as England skipper it seemed amazing that nobody questioned whether or not he was actually up to the job of being a top-class international defender. Playing countries named after Wombles in qualifyers is one thing but, if we learned anything from South Africa it was that he is found sadly wanting against truly world class players – his invisibility against Germany being a case in point.

The big talking point amongst the football world at the moment is, of course, the goalscoring form of one Fernando Torres. He had a poor injury-punctuated Season last term, and his World Cup was notable only for how much better Spain fared without him in the side. Now most of us are aware that buying something second-hand from a Scouser is not to be recommended at the best of times. Nobody seems to have told Ancelotti this and a ludicrous £50m went to Merseyside – though a large chunk of that ended up on Tyneside. Since his move Torres has failed to bother the stattos prompting the joke doing the rounds that, for all their moaning, Fulham supporters should at least be grateful that their club didn’t spend £50m on their statue. Such is our history in these matters, it is almost a stone cold certainty that Torres will break his duck this weekend. In fact I’d be amazed if you could get any sort of odds at all at the bookies that would make the punt worthwhile.

Such has been his form of late, Torres has been starting from the bench, his most recent appearance coming in the last 20 minutes or so of Chelsea’s 3-1 midweek win over Birmingham. Before that he picked up a yellow card in the so-called champions League defeat against Man Utd, the ref taking exception to his clipping his own heel in the manoeuvre known as “doing a Gerrard”. If we see him on Saturday, Torres won’t be the only player on show with a reputation for falling over. Step forward (carefully now) Didier Drogba whose strange attacks of vertigo would surely be cured by an application of yellow cards if referees could only be bothered to apply the laws of the game.

Drogba has 13 goals this season of which 11 have come in the league. Also on 13 is Florent Malouda, whose 12 in the league included a brace in midweek. For all the brouhaha over Torres’ lack of goals and the higher profile given to Drogba and Anelka, Malouda should be considered as a real threat up front.

They have a couple of injuries to consider. The pair of Brazilians (I’m sure that sounds rude but I’m damned if I can work out why) Alex and Ramires have both got hamstring problems and Ashley Cole is a doubt with an ankle injury. I had a whole page of stuff written about the past crimes and misdemeanours of the England left-back. However, when the editors made their weekly visit to the rest home to pick up these words, they took one look at the manuscript, muttered something about lawyers having fits and took away my Werthers Originals promising to return them only when I’d written something less scurrilous. So if this preview seems a little shorter than usual, that’s why. And if you’re looking for a few thousand words on the ungrateful little whippersnapper that is Frank Lampard junior go home now because he’s simply not worth bothering about.

So what of us. Well just when we really need don’t need it we have injury problems. Da Costa lasted about 15 minutes last week before Bent’s niggly foul ended his match. Ths sight of him hobbling away from court on crutches made the whole event doubly depressing.

Kieron Dyer survived a month at Ipswich only to break down in a reserve match as soon as he returned to E13 amid rumours that he will be out of the door sooner rather than later. Gary O’Neil’s injury seems to be every bit as serious as it looked on Saturday and he is looking forward a long spell on the sidelines. Footballer Of The Year Scott Parker (and boy does that title rankle with Spurs supporters who seem to think that the award should be given on the strength of a good half hour in Milan) will also be missing as treatment on his Achilles continues.

The word is that Jack Collison will be available to play some part in proceedings. Great though it would be to see the youngster back again part of me can’t help but think that the player’s interests might be better served by taking a few more weeks off and getting a summer out of the way. Given that we do have a bit of an injury crisis at present it is to be hoped that the rumoured Collison return doesn’t blow up in our faces. After all it’s not like we don’t have previous in this area.

Last week was disappointing – not only for the result but also for the manner of the result. Having had the best possible start the lessons of so many other matches went unheeded as we sat back and gave the initiative to Villa. We’ve done this so many times this season that you have to wonder what goes on at half time if Footballer Of The Year Scott Parker isn’t about to give the team talks.

Prediction? Well even the arrival of the sunshine this week hasn’t improved my mood and fond as I am of making mindlessly optimistic predictions (the nature of which usually depends on the strength of the stuff they put in the tea to keep us quiet around here) even I can’t see us coming away with anything other than our tails between our legs. As mentioned, they are still in with a shout of the title and great though it would be to mess those chances up for them I fear that there is just too much at stake for them to blow this one so I’m going for a depressing 3-0 defeat which will leave us hoping for a Fulham result at Wolves to keep us off the bottom.

Enjoy the match!

Last season: Lost 1-4 Footballer Of The Year Scott Parker’s 25 yard effort levelled the scores at half time but an (as usual) injury hit XI failed to hold on as three second half goals gave the home side a slightly flattering victory.

Danger man: Torres – let’s face it it’s nailed on isn’t it.

Referee: Phil Dowd. The portly official was last seen missing a blatant handball in the 3-1 home defeat to Man City having been distracted by an advert for doughnuts.

Daft fact of the week: Ashley “could I borrow a trainee for target practice” Cole is distantly related to Mariah Carey. Clearly, there was not nearly enough chlorine in that particular gene pool.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Tell it how it is Charley
12:14PM 23rd Apr 2011
''How about time for some proper facts? West Ham have the second worst away form in the league - two wins. Out of 18 games they have only beaten a top ten side twice. It´s the appalling away form that is why the club is where it is!''

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