Premier League: Rafa Benitez searching for first win as Chelsea visit West Ham
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: November 30, 2012 1:40pm
Rafa Benitez: Looking for first win as new Chelsea manager
Rafa Benitez will go in search of his first win, and indeed first goal, as Chelsea manager when his team make the short trip to Upton Park to face West Ham in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off, live on Sky Sports 2 HD.
The former Liverpool manager is almost guaranteed a warmer welcome in East London than the frosty reception that greeted him in West London when he took his position as 'interim' boss at Stamford Bridge.
Two goalless draws have done little to thaw relations between Chelsea's fans and their new manager, so it may be something of a relief to travel away from home for the first time and take on a Hammers side with just one win in five at home.
Despite no win in six Chelsea are still third in the Premier League and a seven-point deficit is by no means insurmountable, but they badly need a shot in the arm and three points in the weekend's opening game will do the job nicely.
Fernando Torres may also just fancy his chances on Saturday given the opposition, as he has bagged six goals in six games against West Ham to make them his favoured opponent.
On the opposite side to Torres is the man who replaced him at Anfield, Andy Carroll, so their performances will be interesting given the pair have netted just 18 league goals in 114 games combined since they fetched £85million in transfer fees.
Sam Allardyce has his side in tenth place in the table but they have suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season after a narrow loss at Old Trafford during the week.
There is no love lost between Allardyce and Benitez after they endured a fractious relationship as managers of Bolton and Liverpool respectively - with Big Sam winning just two of ten contests between the two as managers.
West Ham will have midfielder Mark Noble back from suspension for Saturday's Barclays Premier League game against Chelsea at Upton Park.
Noble missed the midweek defeat to Manchester United after picking up five bookings this season.
Striker Andy Carroll has a slight knee problem and will be assessed before manager Sam Allardyce names his team.
Brazilian defender David Luiz will miss out after a fifth yellow card of the season against Fulham in mid-week will see him suspended for the game.
Captain John Terry will again be missing with a knee injury and Frank Lampard could miss his latest return to Upton Park because of a calf problem.
Benitez has been criticised for his defensive approach in selecting Ryan Bertrand over Juan Mata, but the Spaniard could get the start this time around with Daniel Sturridge unlikely to figure.
- Chelsea have drawn two successive Premier League games 0-0 for the first time since September 2004.
- West Ham are the only team in the Premier League yet to concede a headed goal this season.
- Chelsea have won 10 and lost none of the last 12 Premier League meetings with West Ham.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 22 Jaaskelainen
- 20 Demel
- 19 Collins
- 2 Reid
- 17 O'Brien
- 21 Diame
- 16 Noble
- 4 Nolan
- 12 Vaz Te
- 8 Carroll
- 26 Cole J
Team taken from West Ham vs Reading (Barclays Premier League) on Sunday 19th May 2013
- 1 Cech
- 2 Ivanovic
- 24 Cahill
- 4 David Luiz
- 3 Cole
- 8 Lampard
- 57 Ake
- 9 Torres
- 10 Mata
- 11 Oscar
- 29 Ba
Team taken from Chelsea vs Everton (Barclays Premier League) on Sunday 19th May 2013
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Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Bromwich Albion||38||49|
|10||West Ham United||38||46|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||25|
West Ham v Chelsea
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Sam Allardyce has defended Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's appointment of Rafael Benitez.
Matt Stanger pinpoints Chelsea's shortcomings and it doesn't make good reading for Rafa Benitez.
- Benitez demands 'character'
- Raf to ride out?
- Benitez already fearing sack
- Diame the difference
- Way to go, Mo
- Benitez rues missed chances
- Allardyce switch rewarded
- Cole: Diame the match-winner
- Hammers make Chelsea pay
- Carroll out for two months
- Rafa: I'll fix tired Chelsea
- Collins is feeling confident
- Hope for Rafa?
- Allardyce: Rafa feud old news