Anyone who attended the League Cup game against Chelsea, which we won, will remember the atmosphere. It was crackling and perhaps the first time we had really felt the same kind of buzz that we used to feel at night time games at Upton Park. Of course, all the match reports were dominated by a bit of trouble, which of course the media completely exaggerated. Let’s hope we don’t get any unfortunate headlines tonight.
The lineup for this match is not easy to predict. One has to assume that Andy Carroll will return. I see no point in him being on the bench. Let him start and then take him off if needs be. Michail Antonio is suspended so Carroll would be his obvious replacement, but that still means either Lanzini, Snodgrass or Feghouli would have to miss out if Ayew is start.
The other quandary is what to do about Cheikh Kouyate. I don’t think he’s comfortable at right back. I wonder whether Slaven Bilic might return to a back three and slot in that, but assuming he doesn’t and sticks to 4-3-3, this is how I see us lining up…
The bench would be…
Adrian, Collins, Ayew, Feghouli, Fernandes, Calleri, Fletcher
I think this is a match where you need a defensive midfield. Both Ayew and Feghouli will be very unlucky to miss out on a start but they might just have to take one for the team.
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Dan Coker's Match Preview
Blast from the past
Monday 11th August 1969 – two days after the ‘Manson Family’ committed the Tate murders, with The Rolling Stones at number one with ‘Honky Tonk Women’ and The Italian Job in UK cinemas, West Ham United met Chelsea in the new season’s first London derby at a humid Boleyn Ground in front of 39,003.
23-year-old Peter Bennett, a member of the Hammers’ 1963 FA Youth Cup-winning team, made both the West Ham goals to make it two wins in two games for the hosts, this 2-0 win over the Blues coming just two days after a 1-0 opening day home win over Newcastle.
The Hammers were without centre-half Alan Stephenson, with Jimmy Lindsay coming into the side. Chelsea were strengthened by the return of Scottish international full-back Eddie McCreadie but it was the Hammers who created the better chances, England forward Geoff Hurst forcing a save from Peter Bonetti and John Sissons shooting just wide.
The deadlock was broken in the 68th minute when Bennett beat McCreadie and delivered a right-wing cross which caused confusion between Bonetti and Peter Osgood, Martin Peters nipping between them to score. Chelsea responded, Bobby Ferguson saving well twice in a minute from Blues forward Bobby Tambling.
The points were secured with six minutes to go, Bennett sending Hurst (pictured above) clear to squeeze the ball beyond Bonetti and send the Hammers top of the league. Chelsea, by contrast, had no points from their opening two matches, conceding six goals and scoring just one.
The Hammers would go on to finish 17th in 1969/70 while Chelsea would finish third and win the FA Cup. Everton won the league title and Bobby Moore was named Hammer of the Year, with Billy Bonds runner-up.
West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, Billy Bonds, Bobby Moore, John Charles, Ronnie Boyce, Jimmy Lindsay, Martin Peters, Harry Redknapp, Peter Bennett, Geoff Hurst, John Sissons.
Chelsea: Peter Bonetti, Ron Harris, John Dempsey, Marvin Hinton, Eddie McCreadie, John Hollins, Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke, Peter Houseman, Ian Hutchinson (Tommy Baldwin), Bobby Tambling.
A decent number of players have represented both West Ham United and Chelsea. Victor Moses spent last season on loan with the Hammers and is now proving a key player for Antonio Conte’s Blues. Others to have worn the colours of both clubs include:
Goalkeeper: Craig Forrest.
Defenders: Tal Ben Haim, Scott Minto, Ian Pearce, Joe Kirkup, Glen Johnson and Jon Harley.
Midfielders: Frank Lampard Junior, Peter Brabrook, Alan Dickens, Scott Parker, Yossi Benayoun, Joe Cole and John Sissons.
Strikers: David Speedie, Len Goulden, Demba Ba, Clive Allen, George Hilsdon, Carlton Cole, Jimmy Greaves, Pop Robson and Ron Tindall.
Ron Greenwood and Gianfranco Zola played for Chelsea and managed West Ham, while Sir Geoff Hurst and Dave Sexton both played for the Hammers and managed the Blues. Avram Grant has managed both clubs.
Today’s focus though falls on a player who played an ill-fated eighteen matches in all competitions for West Ham in 2011 – Wayne Bridge was born in Southampton on 5th August 1980 and started his professional career with his hometown club in 1998. He left the Saints to join Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea in a deal worth just over £7m plus Graeme Le Saux in 2003. He scored the winning goal in the 88th minute of the Champions League quarter-final second leg at Arsenal; he also scored against Besiktas and Portsmouth in his debut season with the Blues.
Bridge was a regular starter under new manager Jose Mourinho before picking up a serious ankle injury in an FA Cup tie at Newcastle in February 2005, which also meant he missed the following week’s League Cup Final. Chelsea went on to win the Premier League, Bridge having played enough games to pick up a winner’s medal.
First team opportunities were limited for Bridge in 2005/06 after Mourinho’s signing of Asier del Horno and Bridge joined Fulham on loan for the second half of the campaign, a move which secured him a place in England’s 2006 World Cup squad. Competition for the left-back berth was tougher still the following season after Chelsea’s recruitment of England’s first-choice left-back Ashley Cole from Arsenal but Bridge still collected two winners’ medals as the Blues lifted both the FA Cup and League Cup.
With his future manager at West Ham, Avram Grant, now in charge, Bridge conceded a penalty in the 2-1 League Cup Final loss to Tottenham in February 2008 but would captain Chelsea for the first time in a League Cup fourth round tie against Burnley the following season under Luiz Felipe Scolari, which the Clarets won on penalties. After four goals in 142 appearances with Chelsea, Bridge moved on to Manchester City in the January transfer window of 2009 for a reported fee of £10m. He is perhaps most remembered for an episode which culminated in his much-publicised refusal of a handshake from John Terry, which was interlinked with Bridge’s self-imposed termination of his England career – he won 36 caps for his country, scoring one goal. Bridge’s first-team opportunities at City faded with the arrival of Aleksandar Kolarov and, later, Gael Clichy.
Bridge was offered an escape route in January 2011 by Grant’s relegation-haunted Hammers. He played in both the semi-final of the League Cup and the quarter-final of the FA Cup during his brief West Ham career but these Cup successes were not supplemented by points in the Premier League and the club was relegated as the division’s bottom side. Bridge would return to his parent club but was shipped out on loan again, this time to Sunderland.
Bridge would later have to drop a division for regular football, joining Brighton for a successful 2012/13 campaign. He turned down the chance of an extension to his time with the Seagulls, opting instead to join newly-relegated Reading. The ex-England left-back announced his retirement from the game in May 2014. Now 36, Bridge was most recently seen before Christmas on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.
The referee on Monday will be Andre Marriner; the 45-year-old’s most recent Hammers appointment was Boxing Day’s 4-1 win at Swansea while his only visit to the Hammers’ new home was for our 1-1 draw with Stoke in November. Prior to that, in August’s trip to Manchester City, he had failed to send off Sergio Aguero for an elbow on Winston Reid with the Hammers trailing 2-1 with 14 minutes remaining. The Argentine was retrospectively charged with violent conduct and suspended for three matches, a decision which did nothing to benefit West Ham. Marriner did, however, show leniency that day towards the visitors by failing to issue Arthur Masuaku with a second yellow card on more than one occasion.
Marriner was the man in the middle for our 0-0 home draw with Stoke last season and the 3-0 home win over the same opposition in 2011. He also officiated our 1-0 win over Tottenham at Upton Park in March. Since we achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 the Birmingham-based official has been far from a good omen for West Ham – he has refereed thirteen of our league matches, officiating in only three wins for the Hammers, four draws and six defeats.
West Ham United are without the suspended Michail Antonio, who serves a one-match ban for his red card at Watford last weekend. Angelo Ogbonna, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho are also unavailable, while Andy Carroll is a doubt and may only feature from the bench. Carroll has scored in two of his last three games against Chelsea – his next Premier League goal will be his 50th.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will give a late fitness check to Eden Hazard but the Belgian is expected to start despite being kicked in training during the week. Chelsea’s three away defeats this season have all come at London clubs – a 3-0 loss at Arsenal in September, the 2-1 League Cup reverse at West Ham in October and the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham in January.
Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Kouyate, Fonte, Reid, Cresswell; Noble, Obiang; Feghouli, Snodgrass, Lanzini; Ayew.
Possible Chelsea XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard.
Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!
Over the last two or three weeks the site hasn’t been very busy due to the two week break and the 10 day gap between the last match and the next one, tomorrow night. I’ve kept things going as best as I could, but the truth is that we have lost several contributors over the last year and some of the news have not delivered what I was hoping for. I deliberately haven’t posted anything over the last four days in the hope that someone else might actually come forward with a new post. Clearly it was a vain hope. We all do this voluntarily and I can’t force anyone to write, but seeing as I have two full time jobs I can’t do it all either. This is by way of explanation, rather than just a whinge.
In an ideal world this blog would have three posts a day, but over the last year it’s got to the point where virtually everyone wants to write about the last match on the Monday and Tuesday, and posts later in the week become few and far between. We desperately need some new bloody, and new blood that can take the place of Sean Whetstone who would write about the finances of the club and do interviews with other club’s bloggers before a match. He still contributes the odd piece but his time is now spent on more newsy things for Claret & Hugh. S J Chandos was one of the mainstays of the blog but his contributions are now few and far between, but it has to be said, through no fault of his own.
If I do not manage to recruit some new blood soon, I will have to shut the site down. I’m reluctant to do this given the level of readership and the fact that a real community has been built up. However, if I don’t get some help soon, what alternative will I have?
Mind your Language
I am getting some complaints about aggression, bullying and sexism on the site. It’s not acceptable and I won’t tolerate it. If I see anything in the comments I deal with it. But I don’t see all the comments. If you see something you think needs to be addressed, just email me via the Contact Box at the top of the page and I will take it from there. Just name the person concerned, the thread they have been inappropriate in and roughly what time. Or just attach a screenshot.
Sorry this has been a very negative post. Let’s hope the result tomorrow can turn my mood more positive!
Andre Ayew is a mercurial player, and one who has done little to impress in his short time at West Ham. In a way it’s not his fault. In his first game against Chelsea he was injured and had to come off after 35 minutes. He was out until December and then found it difficult to get a starting place. He could have replaced Payet but then had to go to the African Cup of Nations.
In all, Ayew has only played 13 games (most of the as substitute) and scored 2 goals. In his career he has a scoring record of just over 1 in 4, 79 goals in 359 games. Last season he scored 12 goals in 34 games for Swansea.
Given that Michail Antonio is suspended for the Chelsea game and it’s almost certain he will replace him in the starting lineup. This is the time for Andre Ayew to step up to the plate. But he will have to play very well to displace Lanzini, Snodgrass or Antonio in the starting lineup. I’m not yet quite sure what Ayew’s best position is for Ayew – should he play alongside Andy Carroll, just behind him, or on the right?
We paid £20 million for Ayew – our biggest ever transfer fee. Ayew must know he’s been a bit of a disappointment so far. He can’t be blamed for getting an injury but can be blamed for letting himself get so unfit, that even when he had recovered from the injury he couldn’t play because his fitness wasn’t up to scratch.
It’s now payback time.