Overly long writings about West Ham United FC. This is the kind of thing you might like, if you like this kind of thing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chelsea vs West Ham United: Match Preview - 13/03/2010

1. Science Fiction

You may have noticed that previews have been absent these last few weeks. Initially due to unforseen circumstances, this prolonged absence evolved into a social experiment.

Our Caligula-esque self-regard combined with an innate lethargy has led us here at The H List to believe our convoluted musings somehow influence reality.

I am personally convinced that the frequency of blog postings are inversely proportionate to West Ham results.

As evidence, I offer the following:

(i) the last preview was for Burnley away, which we duly lost 2-1

(ii) the ensuing divorce from cyberspace 'coincided' with home wins against Birmingham and Hull City

(iii) we scored five unanswered goals and recorded back-to-back wins for the first and only time this season.

An away trip to Man United ended with us on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline, but I maintain that we played pretty well, with a good attitude and there was much to be taken from the game. Most notably Mark Noble, who should be taken as far away from the first team as possible.

Saturday's loss to Bolton was an irreconcilable anomaly and one that can have no bearing on sound scientific experimentation such as this.

Our continual defeats to Bolton are demonstrable absolutes akin to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, and the reasoning behind why Kerry Katona must be spayed.

So there you have it: four missed previews, back-to-back wins, a decent performance at Old Trafford and the aberration of Bolton Wanderers. Utterly conclusive.

So, why am I posting another preview if it will directly lead to a further loss and/or underwhelming performance? Well, it's Chelsea this week so I figure we're on a hiding to nothing.

That said, we can fare reasonably well at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are not in the red hot form of a few months ago.

2. Picture Book

FF: 'Don't worry about the penalty, JT - I'll always be there for you.'

3. History

Last season saw us claim a deserved 1-1 draw, Celtic goblin Craig Bellamy putting us one up before Nicolas Anelka redressed the balance.

We even had chances to win it with Carlton Cole clean through at the death, only to scuff his shot, allowing Petr Cech to cradle the ball as gently as you would a newborn child forged from Kinder Eggs.

I’m not saying we will claim as much as a point on Saturday, and a defeat will warrant no more dejection than a resigned shrug of the shoulders, but I am perversely more confident of taking something from this game than from Bolton’s visit last weekend.

And there’s something very wrong with that scenario.

4. You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two

It’s clear that our season will be largely determined by our home form. With fixtures against Stoke City, Wolves, Sunderland and Wigan remaining, it is at Upton Park that the embers of hope will burn brightest.

As we all know, however, home games against the likes of Wigan and Wolves are by no means a sure thing, and I think that nabbing a point at places like Stamford Bridge this week or The Emirates the next, will play as vital a role in the tale of our survival.

Four of our five remaining away games involve visits to Chelsea, Arsenal, Anfield, Goodison Park and Manchester City. All of these teams still have something to play for and if we could nick four points or more from these games, it would lessen the pressure on home ties and thereby produce more composed performances at The Boleyn.

Alternately, if these away matches are largely written off in terms of genuine opportunity, they should then be employed as exercises in abandon, pitting our attacking instincts against the better teams so that we are equipped to despatch the lesser teams.

5. Picture Book

FF: 'I can't believe you'd cheat on me with that bint.'

JT: 'Babes, I swear, I'll make it up to you...'

FF: 'Don't..... It's still too raw...'

6. Captain Marvel

Saturday provides our travelling support the first opportunity to reacquaint themselves with John ‘I Have The Morality Of A Crackhead Weasel’ Terry.

Terry is bound to come in for some proper stick, and deservedly so. The vitriol spewed his way may even eclipse that directed at Lampard, the one time Corpulent Francis will ever be eclipsed by anything smaller than St. Pancras Station.

John ‘I Make Judas Iscariot Look Like June Whitfield‘ Terry has scored a couple of goals of late and has undoubtedly found solace among his home support - a support so principled they saw fit to boo former player Wayne Bridge for having the temerity not to shake the hand of the man who slept with the mother of his child.

A crass lack of intellect affords Terry a resilient and confident nature, which only reinforces the view that he deserves to be continually reminded of this devious indiscretion for the rest of his career.

John ‘Keep Your Thirty Pieces Of Silver, I’ll Do It For Free’ Terry has never been popular with Hammers fans, and he has foolishly given the already well-equipped vocal support yet more ammunition with which to deride him. Stand back and enjoy the show.

7. Truth Or Dare

We can’t afford any more lacklustre displays this season. We’ve been made to sit through our fair share of dross and the well of excuses has run dry.

Everyone knows now what is at stake and going 2-0 down to Bolton after just fifteen minutes is unacceptable.

A tricky Champions League tie at home to Inter Milan on Tuesday night will do nothing to divert Chelsea from Saturday afternoon, neither in terms of concentration nor team selection – particularly after their most recent loss at home to Man City and with City’s neighbours reclaiming top spot.

Chelsea are as physical as Bolton in their own way, but have the added bonus of boasting actual professional footballers. If, deep down, we’re expecting to lose, then I say go for the throat from the outset.

A 2-0 or 3-1 defeat suffered in the manner of our recent trip to Old Trafford will serve us better than a 1-0 loss sustained under 90+minutes of utter bombardment, a stunted lack of ambition swinging from our necks like a fudge-coated albatross.

Carlton Cole will be up for it and while he is not yet back to 100%, he can certainly ruffle the preened feathers of Portuguese Peacock, Ricardo Carvalho, or John ‘I’d Bang Your Wife In The Blink Of An Eye’ Terry.

The defence certainly need to step up. They hinted at form a couple of weeks ago and need to regain that thrifty cohesion quickly.

In midfield, this is probably an instance where Kovac and Parker will be required in tandem, despite my previous protestations at the validity of this axis. Get Noble out of the line-up as he provides neither attacking purpose nor defensive steel.

Behrami needs to be full of running and Diamanti full of swagger, tempered with a touch of reason – killer through balls should not be attempted every single time one is in possession, Alessandro.

Finally, wire up Luis Boa Morte to an IV solution of barbiturates, grizzly bear protoplasm and Irn-Bru, and send him on for the last 20-minutes. I guarantee he’ll score. Guarantee it.


  1. Brilliant preview as ever... but I fear Saturday will not be a good day at the office for our team of perennial under-achievers

  2. Cheers, Howard - and you were right. If Ilan would've put us 1-0 up, then who knows? We may have even lost 5-2.