The first away game under new management requires only a 13-mile trip across London. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton prepare for the District Line derby…
The good news is despite only equalling last season's draw with our near neighbours, Fulham, the Blues rose to third in the table (thanks to West Brom's loss) and remain eight points better off than in the corresponding Barclays Premier League matches last season. Another positive: we don't have to play again in November for almost a whole year.
That said, Chelsea have now failed to score in two successive league games for the first time since stalemates against Aston Villa and Spurs in September 2004. When the same pattern happened in November 2001 it was followed by a 2-0 win at Leeds United in the League Cup.
West Ham have not prevented Chelsea from scoring in our last 13 meetings.
It is often the draws that hamper a title challenge. Manchester United have tasted defeat more times than Chelsea this season but are yet to share points with any opponent. Unbeaten Man City are second because they have drawn five times, the same as the European champions.
With David Luiz suspended after receiving his fifth yellow card Chelsea will have to rearrange a back four that has managed consecutive shutouts. The silver lining to the absence of John Terry and illness to Gary Cahill moving Branislav Ivanovic infield is that César Azpilicueta now looks assured at right back, adding to the interim manager's reliable options.
The Blues will need to draw on all squad resources as we embark on a spell of nine matches in two continents and four competitions throughout December.
West Ham rank third on the list of teams against whom Chelsea have registered the most Premier League wins with 18. Only Tottenham (23) and Manchester City (20) games have yielded more victories.
No side can boast more successes against their current manager, Sam Allardyce, than Chelsea's 11. Irons goalie Jüssi Jääskeläinen (pictured below) has managed only one win in 19 meetings with the Blues compared with 14 defeats.
The Hammers' recent form has been fitful. Although Andy Carroll opened his account at White Hart Lane they were soundly beaten 1-3. The Hammers needed to respond to arguably their worst performance this season in that derby match.
In midweek, although they went behind after half a minute at Old Trafford to a fortuitously deflected Robin van Persie shot, they battled well, had chances of their own and stopped Man United from adding to their total.
The Irons are unbeaten in three games at the Boleyn, two of them draws against Man City and Stoke. Following Fulham's blanket defence at the Bridge, interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has welcomed playing away since home sides are generally more inclined to attack Chelsea and perhaps leave gaps to exploit.
Chelsea have already enjoyed capital gains at the Emirates and White Hart Lane this season. Victory at the Boleyn Ground would complete the set on the home turfs of our most enduring London rivals.
Lunchtime live TV kick-offs seem to have a reputation for being somnambulant affairs, yet the away victories at Arsenal (2-1) and Spurs (4-2) were both 12.45pm starts and obviously highly enjoyable from the west London perspective.
|Premier London League|
Barclays Premier League fixtures
West Ham v Chelsea 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Arsenal v Swansea 3pm
Fulham v Tottenham 3pm
Liverpool v Southampton 3pm
Manchester City v Everton 3pm
QPR v Aston Villa 3pm
West Brom v Stoke 3pm
Reading v Manchester United 5.30pm - ESPN
Norwich v Sunderland 4pm - Sky Sports
Newcastle v Wigan 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table half|
The FA Cup third round draw is live on ITV1 on Sunday 2 December at approximately 2.40pm.
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WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten run against West Ham to 14 games in all competitions. We have won 11 and drawn two of the last 13.
One of the most memorable was the opening day of the 1966/67 season against former Blue Ron Greenwood's Irons. The Chelsea dressing room had been in a state of flux as Tommy Docherty responded to challenges to his authority. Absent, sold in the summer, were Terry Venables, Bert Murray and Barry Bridges.
Wantaway goalie Peter Bonetti seemed already to have one foot in the West Ham camp - he was unhappy Chelsea had rejected a £65,000 transfer bid from the Upton Park side. The Doc had also signed Millwall's Alec Stepney from under the Hammers' noses and pledged to alternate the two keepers on a weekly basis while deciding who to keep.
As a fellow 1966 World Cup-winner, Bonetti might even have lined up with their three heroes Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst when they walked out to the centre circle before kick off and accepted the adulation from all ends of the sun-bathed ground. Chelsea's players joined the applause.
Disgruntled he may have been, but The Cat was never unprofessional, and turned in one his best performances against the east enders. The hosts were fluid and dangerous, and he made several fine saves, especially from Hurst and Peters, and was beaten only once, by a Ronnie Boyce header from close range.
('If Peter keeps playing like this,' said Docherty afterwards, 'it will be like understudying Stanley Matthews in his prime.' Stepney was soon sold to Manchester United.)
The travelling fans chanted 'Attack, attack!' but this Chelsea side, in white shirts, blue shorts and red socks, still boasted skill and spirit, not least in the form of young Peter Osgood, Bobby Tambling, Johnny Hollins and late 1965/66 signing Charlie Cooke, making his league debut as Venables' replacement.
Like all classic Docherty sides they attacked with verve and running in a 4-3-3 formation, although Cooke and Osgood distinguished themselves with more play-opening dribbles than was typical of previous Chelsea sides.
Young midfielder Hollins was also coming into his own as a schemer. He opened the scoring before half time with a cunningly worked free kick from 25 yards awarded for a foul on Cooke. Left-back Eddie McCreadie, playing in midfield (as was Osgood), stood over the ball, seemingly about to pass to Cooke.
Tambling strolled over as if to discuss something but when McCreadie placed the ball on the turf Tambling passed the ball through his legs to Hollins, who thumped it into the top left corner past stunned Hammers' keeper Jim Standen, silencing the majority of a crowd of almost 36,000.
Boyce's equaliser came in the 57th minute and the Hammers were on top when, with just under 20 minutes remaining, Cooke surged down the centre of the field 80 yards, beat a defender and struck a low left-foot shot towards the right-hand post. Standen half-dived then appeared to think the shot was going wide and left it, only to see the side-netting billow, to the delight of the visiting players and supporters.
'We shall be all right,' said Greenwood afterwards. 'We shall not be meeting Bonetti every week.'
Final score: Club That Won The World Cup 1 Chelsea 2.
Back to the present and West Ham's last victory against Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground was in May 2003 when a Paulo Di Canio goal secured the points. The Hammers became the first team to achieve the double against us and suffer relegation in the same season since Oldham managed it in 1993/94.
Our last 10 league meetings at Upton Park
1999/00 - Drew 0-0
2000/01 - Chelsea won 2-0
2001/02 - West Ham won 2-1
2002/03 - West Ham won 1-0
2005/06 - Chelsea won 3-1
2006/07 - Chelsea won 4-1
2007/08 - Chelsea won 4-0
2008/09 - Chelsea won 1-0
2009/10 - Drew 1-1
2010/11 - Chelsea won 3-1
Other match that season
23 April 2011 Stamford Bridge
Chelsea ……………3 West Ham……………0
Chelsea v West Ham in all competitions
Games played 97
Chelsea wins 43
West Ham wins 36
Head to head in the League at Upton Park
Games played 43
Chelsea wins 13
West Ham wins 22
Biggest league win at Upton Park for each team
14/02/1981 - West Ham 4-0 Chelsea
01/03/2008 - West Ham 0-4 Chelsea
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.