Upton Park

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West Ham v Lusitanos

Thursday, 02 July 2015, 19:45

Europa League Qual First Round

Make your move

Like it or not, Christmas is coming and that means we are just about to enter the most critical six weeks of the Premier League season.

Last Updated: 21/11/13 at 10:38 Post Comment

Will the Hammers come out winners like they did in this fixture last season?

Will the Hammers come out winners like they did in this fixture last season?

Between now and the first week of 2014 - when the league next draws its breath for the FA Cup third round - most sides will face a gruelling nine games which could make or break their season.

The top of the league is as congested as it's been for some time: at the moment eight teams look like they're fighting out for the top four places from Arsenal down to Manchester City and most will have title ambitions too!

Now is the time for the challengers to make their move and that is precisely what Jose Mourinho will be telling his Chelsea squad ahead of their trip across London this Saturday.

After West Ham, the Blues have games against Southampton (home), Stoke (away), Sunderland (away) and Crystal Palace (home) before they go to the Emirates for a massive game on December 23.

There is every chance if Mourinho's men can click they will be top by Christmas but that remains a big if.

The Hammers lie in wait on Saturday, short of confidence after losing at Norwich live on Saturday Night Football last time out and desperately short of goals.

But scoring goals has been Chelsea's problem too: four goals in five away games - which have yielded only five points - is hardly the stuff of champions. And they were well beaten at Newcastle on their last trip where they conceded twice.

In fact, Chelsea have conceded in all of their last six league games; surely the starting point for Mourinho at Upton Park will be a clean sheet.

But how much of a goal threat will they face on Saturday? West Ham have scored once in their last three games as Sam Allardyce continues to find a scoring solution while robbed of his main striker Andy Carroll.

Everything seemed to click in the first-half at Carrow Road two weeks ago when they led through Ravel Morrison at the break, but the manner of the second-half display must have worried Allardyce: now nine of the 11 goals they've conceded have come in the second period.

He knows better than anyone just how costly that Norwich defeat was but he tends to treat games such as Saturday's against the Premier League giants as bonus fixtures.

Get anything and the Hammers will be well set for the next batch of games: three of their next four are against the current bottom three; three huge games for West Ham.

What a bonus if, against all the odds, the claret and blues could be the toast of East London this Saturday night ... just like last season.

Remember you can join David and Jamie Redknapp for West Ham v Chelsea live on Saturday Night Football from 5pm on Sky Sports 1.

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