West Ham vs Chelsea
West Ham will be delighted to hear that Andy Carroll looks like he’s returning to full fitness, as Sam Allardyce has been sticking to a 4-6 formation in recent weeks. They host South London rivals Chelsea looking to end their 4 game winless run.
Allardyce’s 4-6 formation relies upon the likes of Ravel Morrison getting forward at every possible opportunity, and Morrison certainly did so to great effect last week bagging himself a goal. Morrison will be hoping to force his way into Roy Hodgson’s World Cup plans, and performing like he did on Saturday will certainly help his cause. Morrison completed more dribbles than any of his West Ham teammates (3), and also completed a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of every 3.9 minutes.
Fellow Englishman Mark Noble’s stock has risen this season, as he has put in a number of assured performances in the centre of the park. In particular, his ability to retain possession has won plaudits, with many pundits feeling that he was unlucky to miss out on a place in Roy Hodgson’s recent squad. This passing ability was on show against Norwich, as he completed 33 passes in the Canaries half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.6 minutes. Noble was also incredibly efficient in defence, winning all 4 of his attempted challenges.
Kevin Nolan is most definitely a leader of men, holding the captaincy at every club that he’s played at. His determination to work for the benefit of the team, and the application that he puts on the training pitch has meant that Sam Allardyce has looked to sign him for whichever club he is managing. Nolan has also had a tendency hit the back of the net on a regular basis, but his shooting has been slightly wayward this season in comparison to his usually exceptionally high standards. Nolan has taken 18 shots this term, but only hit the target with four of them. Nolan is 9/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time on Saturday.
A player who hasn’t always got the recognition that he deserves is Irishman Joey O’Brien, but he’s always been a firm favourite of Big Sam’s. This season O’Brien has quietly gone about his business in an impressive manner, winning 91% of his tackles. No other West Ham defender can boast a success rate as impressive as this.
A contentious last minute penalty from Eden Hazard preserved Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge, and they head to Upton Park looking to close the gap on leaders Arsenal.
West Brom will have felt aggrieved with the last minute penalty decision, but on the balance of play, a loss would have been harsh on Chelsea as they boasted 68% of possession and took 17 shots. Their attacking intent is evident in the number of passes that Branislav Ivanovic completed in West Brom’s half. Ivanovic’s 40 was more than any other defender in the league.
Likewise, the passing of Frank Lampard and Ramires in central midfield emphasizes the Blues’ dominance. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that the duo completed a pass in the opposition half at impressive rates of 2.3 and 2.4 minutes respectively. Lampard is 6/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time on Saturday.
Danny Mills has been the latest pundit to call for John Terry to return to the international fold, and his performances for Chelsea this season certainly demonstrate why Mills is so keen to see the former England captain back in the set-up. There were concerns over Terry’s fitness last term, but so far this campaign he has featured in every minute for Chelsea, only Ivanovic and ‘keeper Cech are the other players to have done this, and he has made 115 defensive contributions (based on blocks, tackles won, clearances and interceptions). This is more defensive contributions than anyone else in the Chelsea squad.
Ryan Bertrand may have only featured once for Chelsea this term, but he certainly made a good offensive contribution to cement his place as Chelsea’s long term left back. The Chelsea academy graduate completed a pass in the opposition half at an astounding rate of a pass every 1.8 minutes – a figure particularly reassuring for Chelsea fans as Ashley Cole approaches the twilight of his career.