West Ham is scheduled to host Chelsea at Upton Park. While West Ham languish in the 10th table position in the Premier League, Chelsea look to reignite the flame that helped them dominate the EPL earlier this season.
Each club has a relatively mediocre records. West Ham go into Saturday's game with a record of 1-2-2. They'll certainly be looking to recover from losses in each of their last two outings.
Chelsea, on the other hand, haven't won a match since their 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Oct. 20. Since that loss, they've gone 0-2-4.
The story of this match will be a clash of two struggling teams. West Ham will attempt to overcome recent disappointments while Chelsea will strive to reassert themselves as the EPL's most formidable clubs.
Furthermore, the pressure is on new Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez. He's only been with the club for two games, but the scoreless ties against Manchester City and Fullham have put him on thin ice.
Already an unpopular figure among the Chelsea faithful, Benitez's days could be numbered if his side doesn't come out with three points.
Where: Upton Park, London, England.
When: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 7:45 a.m ET
TV/Live Stream: ESPN 2, Watch ESPN.
Chelsea: Will Their Defense Be a Deciding Factor?
Goalkeeper Petr Cech has consistently been among the club's most important players this season. In 14 appearances, Cech has an astounding six clean sheets. If not for him, a few of Chelsea's draws would have been losses.
It's the defense in front of him that will decide Saturday's game.
Gary Cahill and David Luiz are standouts from the defensive squad. Luiz is valuable because of his versatility and ability to adapt to the game around him while Cahill has shown the capability to contribute offensively while still protecting his side.
The key is making sure West Ham don't pull their defenders out of position. Since West Ham tend to play with one striker up front, Chelsea shouldn't have to worry too much about that.
Discipline will also be key on both sides of the field. There's no reason for Chelsea to hand West Ham any opportunities in the form of committed fouls.
West Ham: Offensive Spark Could Win Them the Game
West Ham have been held scoreless in four of their 14 matches and have only managed to score more than one goal in three of those 14.
With the amount of draws Chelsea have had, one goal could decide the game.
In light of Chelsea's recently slacking defense in front of their goal, West Ham defender Guy Demel believes his side can capture a victory and three points (per ESPN.com):
Chelsea are a similar team to Manchester United, but they were worried last night. You couldn't hear their fans. At home this weekend I think we will push forward more. We don't need to hide because we have an opportunity to win the game.
Midfielder Kevin Nolan has been an offensive force—scoring five goals this season and assisting on two. If he and his teammates can get a ball or two past Cech, the game could be theirs.
West Ham and Chelsea both need to get out of their respective ruts. Saturday will tell us which club will be on its way up and which will continue to disappoint.
Playing on the road may actually benefit Chelsea. Benitez hasn't been well-received by the hometown crowd, so getting away could prove to be an advantage.
In the end, expect Chelsea to crack down on both sides of the field in an all-out effort to end their winless streak.
Chelsea 1, West Ham 0
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