Can West Ham achieve the impossible and get something at Chelsea tonight?
West Ham go up against a side tonight that have so far dropped as little points in the league as West Ham have gained.
The odds are firmly stacked against Sam Allardyce’s team this evening, with defeat set to plunge the Hammers further into the depths of the relegation zone, should Sunderland pick up any points against Stoke.
Tonight’s fixture has highlighted some pretty depressing stats for West Ham; they have managed just 1 win in their previous 15 meetings with Chelsea, and the last victory at Stamford Bridge came in 2002, thanks to a Paolo Di Canio brace.
The Hammers’ poor placement in the table has largely been compounded of a shortage of goals. Winning just 4 of their 22 league matches this year it is of no surprise to discover that as a team, they have the lowest shot accuracy in the entire Premier League (35%).
Allardyce will be hoping to change that statistic with the introduction of Italian loanee, Marco Borriello, and also the return to action of Andy Carroll. But it has not just been the lack of goals scored that has been the problem this season.
Although the Hammers boast an impressive record of 9 clean sheets this season, their defensive frailties have been exposed as of late, conceding 23 goals in their last 8 matches in all competitions.
Sam Allardyce’s men have another worrying record to worry about should they take the lead at all tonight. They have so far managed to drop more points from winning positions than any other side in the Premier League this season.
Allardyce, who prefers his teams to play a direct style of football, flooding the wings and providing the attack with lots of aerial balls, will not be too happy with his side’s lack of potency in attack. And somewhat ironically, the Hammers remain the only team in the Premier League to have not scored a headed goal this season.
When you consider that Chelsea have the best defensive record in the league, it is hard to imagine West Ham taking any points at Stamford Bridge tonight. But what would be the best approach for the Hammers?
West Brom showed earlier on in the season that a result is possible when they lead at Stamford Bridge going into the final minutes, only to be cruelly denied victory by a controversial late penalty decision.
It is this kind of impassioned performance from West Brom that West Ham have been lacking all season; and if they are to take anything away from the Bridge tonight then they will have to battle their way to it.
image: © Tom Cuppens