Chelsea aim for make it six wins in seven visits to the Boleyn Ground. Clive Walker weighs up how that might be achieved.
'Obviously both sides want to see an improvement on their midweek games. West Ham played quite well at Old Trafford but still lost and Chelsea's performance was flat by usual standards.
'The Hammers' mindset will most likely be that they're glad they're playing at home after two tough away trips. They'll have seen that following the change of management at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are no longer giving goals away but are not firing upfront at the moment. But Sam Allardyce will be reminding them the attacking potential is still very much there in the visiting team, and his lads will have to make sure they're right on their game if they hope to get a result. He won't want them to suffer the backlash after Chelsea have been widely criticised.
'There are some positives about the way the team are playing under Benitez. The clean sheets, for example, and pressing higher up the pitch on Wednesday night, although we can put quite a lot of that down to Fulham. Dimitar Berbatov, impressive as he was, doesn't run the channels, so we could push up against their defenders and win the ball a lot earlier.
'The negative way Fulham played was all about securing a point, with it being down to us to take the game to them. I can't see West Ham approaching the game the same way, which should work in our favour.
'The quality of ball into Fernando Torres and others in the final third has to improve if we are to gain anything from this derby. We've not given a goal away and some people are saying that's boring but there has to be a balance found - we were conceding too many goals before.
'Those clean sheets are important - mentally as much as anything. We're not perfect and Rafa needs to make things happen upfront, but he's started with the basics - i.e. defending - and from the managerial perspective that is going about things the right way.
'We know we can keep it tight at the back, and that West Ham will come on to us more. They still play quite direct up to Andy Carroll and he has given us lots of problems - he scored in the FA Cup final, remember. If we can stop the supply to him at source we can start our attacks further up the pitch and have a go at their backline.
'Our back four has to be changed for the first time under Benitez because David Luiz is suspended. I don't see a problem as Gary Cahill was on the bench on Wednesday. We've kept two clean sheets without John Terry, and don't need to rush him back - we need JT for the rest of the season.
'So you can imagine Cahill can step in, keeping the other three the same. Cesar Azpilicueta has done pretty well coming in: he's doing a job. He can't cross a ball like Jose Bosingwa but he defends much times better. He'll only get better for the run of games.
'The final ball and movement are the problems Rafa will be trying to solve upfront. We have been delightful going forward earlier in the season and as supporters we've liked it. Now we need wins, and the manager must be working his socks off to get things right in attack.
'They have a very good midfield but you definitely have to ask questions about the Hammers defensively. Jussi Jaaskelainen, Winston Reid… if we're more elusive in our attacking flow I cannot see them living with us.
'I'm certain Rafa will stick with Fernando Torres but I bet he's working intensively with him on the training ground. He won a lot of balls in the air against Man City and Fulham, but he's not latching onto the chances at present.
'A lot of our goalscoring problems are about players' decision-making, and that's what makes someone world-class. We should not be at the level where a player shoots because the crowd tells him to or because no one's had a pop for while.
'Juan Mata came on and looked a really bright spark. With a heavy workload ahead the manager probably thought there was enough in the team he picked to beat Fulham and he could rest him. I think Mata will start on Saturday.'
For West Ham, Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder), Alou Diarra (thigh) and Jack Collison (knee) are out injured.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
We have two wins in the last 10 games in all competitions including four defeats.
The Blues are eight points better off after 14 games compared with the corresponding games last season.
Chelsea have not lost when we have opened the scoring (six wins, two draws)
We have won just four points from the last 18 available.
Chelsea with six, along with Manchester City and Stoke, have kept the most clean sheets in the Barclays Premier League.
Over five and a half hours have passed since Chelsea last scored a goal.
|Last six results|
|Nov 7||Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League h)||W 3-2|
|Nov 11||Liverpool (h)||D 1-1|
|Nov 17||West Brom (a)||L 1-2|
|Nov 20||Juventus (Champions League a)||L 0-3|
|Nov 25||Manchester City (a)||D 0-0|
|Nov 28||Fulham (h)||D 0-0|
Premier League scorers
Mata 4, Torres 4, Hazard 3 (1 pen), Ivanovic 3, Lampard 3 (2 pens), Cahill 2, Cole 1, Moses 1, Ramires 1, Sturridge 1, Terry 1. Total 24
League games since
An away win: 2
An away draw: 1
An away defeat: 0
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Wed 5 Dec||Nordsjaelland (Champions League) home||7.45pm|
|Sat 8 Dec||Sunderland away||3pm|
|Thu 13 Dec||Ulsan Hyundai or Monterrey Yokohama (FIFA Club World Cup semi-final)||10.30am UK time|
Ashley Cole is set to make his 350th Premier League appearance.
We need two more goals for the half century for the season. Today is our 24th match.
WEST HAM STATS
3 FA Cups, last in 1980
1 European Cup Winners' Cup in 1965
1 FA Charity Shield in 1964 (shared with Liverpool)
West Ham have won 12 points from a possible 21 at Upton Park this term.
They have won three - against Aston Villa, Fulham and Southampton, drew three to Sunderland, Manchester City and Stoke and lost one to Arsenal.
The Hammers are unbeaten in their last three at Upton Park. Overall they have won one and lost three of their last six home and away.
The Irons have not won any of the six games in which their opposition scored first.
West Ham have conceded the most fouls and have received more yellow cards than any other team in the Barclays Premier League.
The Hammers have only conceded six goals in their seven home Premier League games.
Manager Sam Allardyce
Days in charge: 549
|West Ham's last 10 year league history|
|2003/04||74||4th||League Division One||2|
|Last six results|
|Oct 27||Wigan (a)||L 1-2|
|Nov 3||Manchester City (h)||D 0-0|
|Nov 11||Newcastle (a)||W 1-0|
|Nov 19||Stoke (h)||D 1-1|
|Nov 25||Tottenham (a)||L 1-3|
|Nov 28||Manchester United (a)||L 0-1|
2012/13 Premier League scorers
Nolan 5, Noble 2 (1 pen), Carroll 1, Diame 1, Jarvis 1, Maiga 1, O'Brien 1, Reid 1, Taylor 1, Tomkins 1, Vaz Te 1. Total 16.
League games since
A home win: 2
A home draw: 0
A home defeat: 3
WEST HAM MAJOR SUMMER MOVES
Ins Matt Jarvis (Wolves, £10.75m), Modibo Maíga (Sochaux, £4.7m), Alou Diarra (Marseille, £2m), James Collins (Aston Villa, £2.5m), Mohamed Diame (Wigan, free), Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton, free), George McCartney (Sunderland, free), Raphael Spiegel (Grasshopper Zurich, undisclosed), Andy Carroll (Liverpool, loan), Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea, loan), Stephen Henderson (Portsmouth, undisclosed).
Outs Sam Baldock (Bristol City, £1.1m), Nicky Maynard (Cardiff, £2.5m), Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul, undisclosed), Robert Green (QPR, free), Ravel Morrison (Birmingham, loan), Frank Nouble (Wolves, free), Freddie Sears (Colchester, free), Abdoulaye Faye (Hull, free), Julien Faubert (Elazigspor, free), John Carew (released), Pape Bouba Dio (released)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Martin Atkinson is refereeing his second Chelsea game of the season; he was the official at the Emirates for our 2-1 win at Arsenal in September. Chelsea have lost just one of the 23 matches Atkinson has officiated since 2006.
David Luiz (one match) is suspended for reaching five yellow cards.
Ramires is one yellow card away from a one match domestic suspension. He is currently on four bookings.
Yossi Benayoun is unable to play as a result of the terms of his loan.