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Pre-Match Briefing: West Ham United v Chelsea – part one

From Ukraine to Upton Park, the Blues head east again on Saturday. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look forward to a derby of note…



Before the final episode of Eastenders, the news: Chelsea are back. At least, the last two performances have suggested a return to the compact and disciplined ones that brought such success last season.

The result was two successive shut-outs, and with better luck and finishing on Tuesday the Blues might easily have replicated Shakhtar’s 3-0 victory in the same arena a few days earlier, Dynamo Kiev’s first home defeat since 2014.

Now, with the Olympic Park winking alluringly at West Ham, this will be the 53rd and last time West meets East at the Boleyn Ground, barring a meeting in the FA Cup  – they are already out of the Capital One Cup. (See the ‘We Have History’ section tomorrow for reminiscences of previous visits.)

This is the champions’ first top-flight away trip of the season in the capital. West Ham United have actually lost their last three home London derbies in the league, though they have scooped all the points in 2015/16 at Arsenal and Crystal Palace.