West Ham will attempt to break a decade-long drought when they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on Sunday.
Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble will face late fitness tests for West Ham’s trip across London and manager Sam Allardyce will undoubtedly want both key midfielders available to take on Chelsea, considering the Hammers’ terrible history at Stamford Bridge over the past decade.
West Ham have not won away to Chelsea since September 2002, losing six of the past seven games at their London rivals’ home ground.
Nolan (broken toe), Noble (arm) and George McCartney (knee) will be given until the last minute to prove their fitness but Allardyce will have to do without Joe Cole (hamstring) and Matt Taylor (concussion) in the English Premier League fixture against Chelsea.
Having moved into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League during the week after a 3-2 aggregate over Steaua Bucharest, Chelsea should have plenty of confidence ahead of the visit of West Ham, having extended their unbeaten run at home to seven games in all competitions.
Juan Mata, John Terry and Fernando Torres scored in Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Steaua on Thursday with the latter scoring the decisive goal with an angled shot from Eden Hazard’s flick.
West Ham have not played since March 2 when they claimed a 1-0 victory away to Stoke but success away to Chelsea could see Allardyce’s team move into the top half of the Premier League with a game in hand.
Allardyce’s side sit 12th on the Premier League table, one of five teams on 33 points, but could move to 10th if they defeat Chelsea, plus Fulham and Stoke fail to win against Tottenham and West Bromwich Albion respectively.
Chelsea are fourth on 52 points, two behind Tottenham but with a game in hand and manager Rafa Benitez will know a win over West Ham will keep his team’s hopes of UEFA Champions League qualification alive.