Chelsea travel the short distance to the former Olympic Stadium to take on relegation-haunted West Ham United in the Premier League on Wednesday night.
With Chelsea vying for a top-four final placing in the Premier League, Frank Lampard will be looking for maximum effort from his players against the team with which he started his professional career.
The Hammers lie one place above the bottom three and, together with both AFC Bournemouth and Aston Villa who are immediately below them, have accrued a modest 27 points so far this season.
The Stratford based side could well drop into the relegation places if the South Coast get a better result against Newcastle Utd in their meeting that is due to take place the same day.
Despite the contrast in league positions, West Ham came away from Stamford Bridge with three points earlier in this season’s reverse fixture after a 1-0 victory, a result that belied the relative strengths of the two teams.
Lampard will, no doubt, be hoping to exact maximum revenge against a team whose fans treat the Chelsea manager and son of one of their former favourites with the harshest of disdain.
It is, therefore, upon that premise that I sincerely hope that Chelsea give them a footballing lesson, deny them anything from the outcome of the match and help put a nail in the coffin of their hopes of avoiding relegation.
Nonetheless and with the above said, whilst West Ham have never been on my list of favourite or even ‘respected’ other teams, I do have certain sympathy for their supporters.
That’s because they were forced to follow their side away from their hallowed Boylen Ground when their current owners sold the site in Green Street to property developers and, in doing so, ripped the heart out of the club.
Those who claim affiliation with Chelsea and who follow certain social media platforms will, no doubt, be aware of the ongoing speculation concerning The Blues’ interest in West Ham’s England international Declan Rice.
The ongoing conjecture is, according to some, given further credence because the midfielder, who was once a trainee at Cobham but was released aged 14, is good friend of Chelsea’s bright hope Mason Mount.
Wednesday’s game will give the Chelsea manager and the rest of his staff the ideal opportunity to see how Rice stands up against a side containing players with not only a wealth of top-class Premier League and international experience but who also have plenty of silverware to their names.
Should Lampard secure the services of Rice once this current season has been completed, the 21-year-old will join a long list of players who have played for both teams and, in this ‘modern era’, also be following in the footsteps of the likes of Lampard and Joe Cole in moving from West Ham to Chelsea.
About the Author
Londoner David Johnstone is a home, away and European away Chelsea supporter and has missed just six matches since 2001 (although he’s quick to state there are plenty of other supporters with better attendance records than him).
He has been involved with the fanzine scene at Chelsea since around 1991 and started the ‘cfcuk’ fanzine in 1999 which was, until Mr Abramovich bought the club in 2003, named ‘Matthew Harding’s Blue And White Army’.
David was also responsible for forming both the Chelsea Supporters’ Group and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust which are the main two bodies that represent the followers of Chelsea FC and take their concerns to those running the club.
A founder of the highly regarded Chelsea FanCast weekly podcast (but is no longer involved) and responsible for the crowd surfing banners and supporter displays that are seen in the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge on matchdays.
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