West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has called on his players to turn their inconsistent home form around when struggling Premier League champions Chelsea visit Upton Park on Saturday.
Bilic’s side have been a surprise success story on the road this season, winning four and drawing the other of their five matches away from home in 2015-16 – a run that includes victories at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.
However, that contrasts sharply with their results in front of their own fans, with just four points taken from as many outings.
In the club’s last season at Upton Park before their move to the Olympic Stadium, it is hardly the send-off the West Ham faithful would have wanted for the famous old ground, and Bilic is keen to turn things around.
“We have to improve our home form,” he said at a pre-match news conference on Thursday.
“We have to be more patient when we play at home. We are going to try to continue to play good football. With a bit of luck and staying away from injuries we have a chance in every game.
“Every game in the Premier League is extremely dangerous. All the opponents are top class.
“I want my team to shoot more, sometimes we wait too much in a clear-cut situation. You have to try your luck around the box. We don’t have to do it better. We need to do it more.”
Recent history is not on West Ham’s side, however, as they have won just one of their last 18 Premier League meetings with Chelsea.
Bilic will be without defender Winston Reid (back), while on-loan winger Victor Moses is ineligible to face his parent club.
After cruising to the title by eight points last year, Chelsea have struggled in the start of their defence this time around with just three wins from the first nine matches.
Tuesday saw Jose Mourinho’s side draw 0-0 at Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, and midfielder Nemanja Matic believes there have been signs of recovery in recent weeks.
“Step by step I think we are getting better,” he said. “We are not in a great position but we are working hard and slowly we will get back to what we had last season.
“I’m sure that as a team we will improve. Confidence is not high when you are in a position like we are now in the Premier League but I’m sure we will do better.
“I will be happy when we get out of the group and get closer to the top of the Premier League.”
Mourinho continues to be without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (knee) and Branislav Ivanovic (hamstring), while Loic Remy and Pedro (knocks) are doubtful.
Key Opta stats:
– Chelsea have not conceded a single goal in any of their last five Premier League matches against the Hammers; last conceding in a 3-1 defeat in Dec 2012.
– Dimitri Payet has created more goalscoring chances than any other Premier League player so far this season (39).
– West Ham have won their two Premier League London derbies so far this season (v Arsenal and Crystal Palace) – they only won two PL London derbies in the whole of 2014-15.
– Jose Mourinho has lost just five of his 52 Premier League London derbies as a manager (W36 D11 L5).
– This is West Ham’s best ever start to a PL season after nine games (17 points), while it’s Chelsea’s second worst ever start to a PL campaign after nine games (11 points).