West Ham United v Chelsea

What's the average age of a Grandmother on the Jeremy Kyle show and what's that got to do with Chelsea? Only Preview Percy could make a connection like that....

Next up we are at home to Chelsea. Kick off on Wednesday is at 7.45pm. No engineering works to speak of, just the long dark teatime of the soul that is travelling during the London rush hour by tube. That's getting there sorted. You may want to have a think about your journey home, mind, as the lines between Upminster and Pitsea and the Ockendon branch will be closed after about 10:30 should that be your route home. Which, come to think of it, is a damned fine excuse to your other half should you roll in on a slightly tardier basis than usual. Thank me later.

Our hosts come to us at the top of the league with 60 points from the 26 played so far. They were excused boots from league duty this weekend gone as they were entangled in the League Cup Final against some small club from North London. The 2-0 win was comfortable enough without being over-convincing and it just confirmed the theory hypothesised a couple of weeks back that, if Harry "One Of Arsenal's Own" Kane is having an off day Spurs need a lot of help from the officials to get anything out of a game.

In recent weeks Mourinho has been shouting his gob off concerning the conspiracy theories that everyone in authority is somehow contriving to deny his team the title. Now Mourinho doesn't believe this any more than I do, and, as a method of putting pressure on referees it's about as subtle as a Bernard Manning punchline. In fact, given the murder that his team gets away with week in week out his comments are pretty laughable.

Take for example Matic-gate. Nobody's denying that Barnes's challenge left a lot to be desired and there are few amongst us that probably wouldn't have shown some sort of reaction to a tackle that could have put us in hospital. However, Matic's reaction did constitute violent conduct for which three matches is the customary stretch. So for the FA's disciplinary committee to reduce the length of the ban by a match was illogical as well as being contrary to their own disciplinary code.

It might also be worth our while dropping a line to the same people, showing them video of Carroll's sending off against Swansea last season and asking them whether, even if they accept the crap that Howard Webb fed them to save his own backside, they really thought Carroll's offence was worth an extra match ban to that dished out to Matic? We could always use the ban served as credit against whatever ban Carroll next incurs. And don't get me started on surrounding the ref.

Mourinho's lieutenant and skipper is, of course that thoroughly unpleasant result of a coupling between a shoplifter and a drug dealer, John Terry. It's interesting to note that, in all the furore over the actions of some of their supporters in recent weeks, Chelsea have been quick to make the standard announcement of "we'll investigate this and anyone found to have stepped out of line will be banned for life". Terry served an FA ban after they ruled that he had used insulting language towards Anton Ferdinand a few years ago. We're still waiting for news of his life ban.

The supporters involved in the Paris incident claimed that the "that's the way we like it" chant was something sung in defence of their skipper following the FA's decision in the Ferdinand case. So that's ok then.

Transfer wise they did the bulk of their business during the summer break when Fabregas, Remy, Costa, Luis and Drogba all arrived. Even allowing for the fact that Drogba was a freebie, that little lot came to something like ?95m depending on exchange rates and which newspaper you buy. On the other hand they were pretty parsimonious during the winter window, with Juan Cuadrado being the only arrival.

Right winger Cuadrado had a decent World Cup for Colombia in Brazil last year, though it was his team-mate James Rodriguez who, perhaps caught the eye a bit more. The Pensioners picked the player up from Fiorentina where the player had been billeted with his family for the past few years. Sad story to this one - given his home country's often violent history in recent years, it didn't come as a surprise that the player lost his truck-driving Dad at the age of five to a shooting incident. One is reminded of the passing of his compatriot Andres Escobar in similar fashion after the 1994 World Cup.

The big transfer stat of this season though for Chelsea is the ludicrous number of loan players they have spread over the four corners of the globe. According to the Work Experience Girl With An Inappropriate Number Of Rings Through Her Lips, at one stage this season they had no fewer than 28 players out. Yup 28. That's more than the average age for a grandmother on the Jeremy Kyle Show.

That figure has been adjusted since the last window - Fernando "cow's backside with a banjo" Torres's loan move to Milan has now become permanent for example, but to have so many out doesn't strike me as being quite right. We're rapidly getting to the stage where Abrahamovic will own every single player in the world and every other club will be allocated players according to where they'll cause the least threat to Chelsea's attempt to "win" trophies.

Top scorer with 17 for the seson is Diego Costa who claims that he's the victim of his own reputation, the poor misunderstood mite. Anyone who saw him stamping his way through the League Cup Semi-Final will have understood all too well what he's about and, although it was in a perverse way good to see the whining scousers get a taste of their own medicine, the leniency shown to the forward during that match was another example of proof that, when Mourinho starts on about what a raw deal his lot get from the officials, he's talking a complete load of twaddle. It took retrospective review to see him get the three match ban his actions deserved. On the lighter side of things, Costa was seen trousering a ?2 coin chucked at him by Spurs fans on Sunday. No doubt Abrahamovic will deduct it from his salary.

Second top scorer on 13 is Eden Hazard who is one of the "unsteady on his feet" brigade. Mourinho bemoaned the treatment dished out to his player by PSG the other week when the French XI decided that, since he was going to throw himself to the floor anyway they might as well give him something for his troubles. He is allegedly the league's most fouled player, though I suspect if you subtract free-kicks won for "simulation" from the total that might not be the case. As Mourinho says "give cards, obey the rules of the game". We'll quote that one back at you after the game Jose.

Another one to watch is defender Branoslav Ivanovic. The defender has a habit of popping up with important goals just when they need a bit of a boost, especially when he's to be found hanging around the box at set pieces, something we've not been too good at dealing with of late.

Us? Well that was pretty damn awful wasn't it. We were so poor for a lot of that match that we'd have lost it even without the helping hand given to them by Mike Dean. It says it all that two of their goals came from someone who shouldn't have been on the pitch and some of the treatment handed out to Sakho varied from the merely illegal - I'm surprised his shirt survived the game so many were the attempts to liberate it from his back - to the downright violent.

After the disgraceful elbow on Sakho, Jedinak now starts a four match ban despite his manager's laughable attempts to head the FA's disciplinary bods off at the pass. "We need clear guidelines on this" he wailed. Well Alan, here's a clue: If it's something that would see you arrested if you did it to someone outside a pub, it should probably be a red card.

I'm in two minds as to whether I'm pleased or annoyed with Dean for not seeing Jedinak's assault. On the one hand it's annoying that we didn't benefit from the penalty and red card it merited. On the other hand, as we saw with Murray, Dean actually seeing something and him doing the right thing depends mainly on whether a decision will make him the centre of attention. He has rather a lot of previous in that respect.

As I say, even without Dean we weren't at the races until it was far, far too late. It is to be hoped that the proposed break in Dubai will recharge the batteries a bit because, if not, the season will run the risk of petering out - not something that the boss will want if he wants to go into bat on a decent wicket when the contract negotiations open up at the end of term.

Talking of contracts, I understand our Danish Kiwi Winston Reid is close to agreeing a new deal rather than electing to run his career down at White Hart Lane. I hope that's the case - though I'll believe it when I see it personally. Years of built-up hopes does tend to do that to a West Ham Supporter.

On the injury front it's the same lot available again, with only the two Cs up front missing. Carlton will have something to occupy his mind over the next few days having become the subject of the FA's latest bid to remove every penny from West Ham United. Another twitter spat it seems.

Nene showed a few nice touches at the weekend - he seems to have a nice line in curling shots inside the far post which suggests that, in the unlikely event of us ever getting a free-kick within shootable distance he might have something to contribute to the debate. Whether he gets a start depends on how the boss views his match fitness.

Amalfitano, however, is one match shy of completing his ban for his brainstorm at the Hawthorns.

Prediction? Well I know we have a habit of following up a defeat against rubbish only to get something out of the next match against better-placed opposition. However, as a game plan or betting strategy it's not something that I'd recommend relying on. Especially as Mourinho's comments are likely to serve more as a reminder to match officials as to who he considers their real boss to be.

Mourinho has said he'll be ringing the changes from Sunday's match, not that Tottenham really gave them much of a test at the weekend.

Much as I'd love this to be a typical West Ham response to a bad weekend I can't see us getting anything this Wednesday so the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered's ?2.50 fund for postage so we can write to that American Woman who has sent millions to the African "boyfriend" she's never met in person but is convinced will send her back the money as soon as he's got back from the long business trip he seems to have been on for a while on a 3-1 away this time.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Boleyn: Lost 0-3 (November 2013). We were doing ok. Then came a misplaced backpass from Demel. Next time Mourinho moans at refs he should be shown the video of Oscar's dive and asked to explain how a competent official could ever have given a penalty for it. The really nice bloke who evicts grannies on to the street scored from the spot and added another whilst Oscar got one inbetween all the diving - and boy there was a lot of it.

Danger Man: Branislav Ivanovic - yes they have goals a plenty in them but given our recent propensity to disappear at set pieces and throw in his recent run of goalscoring form I'm minded to go with the defender this time around.

Referee: Andre Marriner unlike last weekend's arrogant fool - Mike Dean makes too many controversial decisions which just happen to take place when it's a live game for it to be a coincidence - Marriner doesn't seem to have an agenda when he turns up. He's just very accident-prone.

Daft Fact Of The Week:The League Cup final saw the sighting of a possibly unique occurrence in modern football. The sight of John Terry's participation in celebrations after a match in which he'd actually been involved is undoubtedly one for the rarities file. No doubt he'll be putting his League Cup Winner's medal next to the MOBO Award he's probably got on his mantelpiece.

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