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West Ham aiming for win over demoralized Chelsea ahead of big week for Blues

West Ham aiming for win over demoralized Chelsea ahead of big week for Blues

West Ham has already beaten Manchester United and Liverpool at home this season. Now, it's aiming to add a demoralized Chelsea to the list.
Chelsea's 2-1 loss to Tottenham in the League Cup final was its first in 17 matches and came amid reported unrest at the club.
British newspapers said that FC Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has been lined up to replace manager Avram Grant, while captain John Terry had a training-ground argument with assistant coach Henk ten Cate the day before the League Cup final.
Grant angrily rejected any criticism at a news conference Friday.
"You're (the media) trying to hurt the team, hurt the club, because we lost one game," Grant said. "If we lose tomorrow ... wait with the knife a little bit.
"You didn't behave too nicely. Now I don't respect you too much because we lost one game and you've taken it too far. I don't like it. You hurt my players, you hurt the club, and this is not the right way."
Chelsea now has only three trophies to aim for _ and the Blues could be out of two more competitions within a week.
After playing West Ham on Saturday, Chelsea hosts a Champions League second-leg game against Olympiakos on Wednesday and is then away to Barnsley in the FA Cup quarterfinals three days later.
"You know they won't be looking forward to coming to Upton Park," West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green said. "Between ourselves and our fans, we can make it as intimidating as possible and really get stuck into them."
West Ham beat Man United 2-1 on Dec. 29 and Liverpool on Jan. 30 at Upton Park.
The Hammers have lost their last six games against Chelsea. Its last victory was in May 2003 when they had Joe Cole in the team. The England midfielder is now at Chelsea, along with former Hammer Frank Lampard.
Terry took the squad paint-balling on Wednesday in a team-bonding exercise as Chelsea bids to bounce back from the upset defeat.
"The boys worked their socks off to get to the final, and it's the worst time to lose," Terry said. "But we have to pick ourselves up, and we're still fortunate enough to be in all three competitions, and we're still very much in contention.
"The Premier League is still close, and we have a great chance in the Champions League and FA Cup, which is our trophy, so we need to stay positive."
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson isn't ruling Chelsea out of the title race.
"The number of points Chelsea are behind Arsenal is not insurmountable," Ferguson said. "The fact that they have got us and Arsenal at home, and their record is so good, you would have to think they have still got a big chance in the Premier League."
Arsenal leads the Premier League with 64 points, followed by Man United with 61, Chelsea with 55, and Everton with 50. Liverpool and Aston Villa have 47 points.
Also Saturday, its: Derby vs. Sunderland; Middlesbrough vs. Reading; Birmingham vs. Tottenham; Arsenal vs. Aston Villa; Fulham vs. Manchester United; Newcastle vs. Blackburn; and Manchester City vs. Wigan.
On Sunday, Liverpool is at Bolton and Everton hosts Portsmouth.
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has joined his captain Steven Gerrard in airing frustration at the club's form.
The Reds' most realistic chance of a trophy is in the Champions League, but Gerrard has even said that won't make up for the disappointment of the league campaign.
Liverpool, which holds the most number of English titles with 18, hasn't won the league since 1990.
"Everyone at Liverpool shared Steven's sentiments, there is no question about that," Benitez said. "We wanted to be further up the table and the fact that we are not is a disappointment to everyone.
"But the most important thing now is to concentrate on what we can still do."
One club watching Liverpool's performances is cross-town rival Everton. The Toffees are unbeaten in seven league games this year and are eager to finish in fourth place for the final Champions League spot.
The last time that Everton finished above Liverpool in the standings was in 2005, when the Reds won the Champions League. Although Liverpool finished fifth, UEFA allowed it to defend its European title by entering in the first qualifying round of the Champions League the following season.
Everton didn't get past the third qualifying round that season and is now eager to make amends.
"We know it is important to keep hold of fourth place now we have got it," Everton defender Phil Jagielka said. "If we end up there at the end of the season, then it will have been a massive campaign for us.
"Every point from now until the end is going to matter. There are six-pointers every week with the amount of teams that are looking to finish in the Champions League."


Updated : 2021-02-28 21:42 GMT+08:00