West Ham vs Chelsea; you can take the boys out of the Boleyn but…..

dave-payne-claret-and-bluesMake no mistake about it, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 will go down as one of the great evenings to be a part of in the Genesis and evolution of the Olympic Stadium as the new home of West Ham United.

Whilst the airwaves and many other media outlets prefer to concentrate on the small number of skirmishes and outbreaks of trouble that were witnessed last night, and they were relatively minor I assure you, I shall confine myself to writing about what was an outstanding evening both on AND off the pitch.

As fans, we have all bemoaned the loss of the Boleyn ground and in particular, nights under the lights and the thrill of being a part of the cauldron-like atmosphere that intimidated so many visiting sides over the years. Many of us had our doubts about the capacity of the Olympic Stadium to deliver anything like such an environment but last night any doubts we may have had previously had were assuaged.

The atmosphere was different from the second we arrived at Stratford station. There was a buzz in the air, the like of which none of us had felt since May 10 when Manchester United were put to the sword at Upton Park. Cries of “Irooons” and impromptu choruses of Bubbles filled the streets and the causeways around the stadium and, in The Carpenters, the pre-match atmosphere akin to that at the Boleyn Arms prevailed, complete with the obligatory beer showers and dodgy dance routines from groups of well-oiled supporters!

Lively West Ham topple Chelsea in the EFL Cup

Let’s savour the words in that headline for a moment – Lively West Ham topple Chelsea in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.

Here’s how it happened. These are my snapshot thoughts as the match progressed, with the promise of a more considered assessment to follow when Headmaster and Matt have their feet back on the ground.

graham-harris-claret-and-bluesFirst-half action

Great shot stop from Darren Randolph as N’Golo Kanté fires sharply.

We’re 1-0 up!

Superb cross from Mark Noble. Came in at pace to give Cheik Kouyaté every chance of getting a powerful header in. He does, and Hammers are one up.

Penalty shout turned down. Still think our players go down too easily. Why not try and stay on your feet to score?

First 15 minutes, well up for it. Chelsea have made seven changes and West Ham ought to be taking full advantage.

Another great save by Randolph.

Rode our luck a little when Chelsea attacked at pace with some slick one-touch interchanges.

Great to see West Ham players playing with pace and purpose. Not as pedestrian going forward as in previous matches.

Manuel Lanzini has a great chance when Antonio spins away from David Luiz. Somehow Lanzini decides his right foot is the best option and a his touch sends it wide.

Good, spirited first half-hour.

Great pressing by West Ham perfectly illustrated when Gary Cahill is forced to go long and the ball drifts out for a goal-kick, with no Chelsea player in sight.

What we hope to see when West Ham take on Chelsea in the EFL Cup



graham-harris-claret-and-bluesThings I’m looking out for tonight as West Ham take on Chelsea in the fourth round of the EFL Cup:

  • We must be due a Dimitri Payet free-kick goal
  • Some heroic centre-back play to keep Chelsea’s strikers quiet – third clean sheet in a row would be good
  • I’m also hoping Aaron Cresswell’s return will bring out the best in Manuel Lanzini and Payet, as it did against Crystal Palace
  • Edimilson Fernandes building on the encouraging performance he gave us against Sunderland

Things I’m not looking out for:

  • Penalties, with Simone Zaza having come on in the last minute of extra-time
  • Michail Antonio defending in our own penalty area
  • Crowd trouble in or outside the ground


West Ham

  • Randolph
  • Kouyaté
  • Reid
  • 21 Ogbonna
  • 31 Fernandes
  • 16 Noble
  • 14 Obiang
  • Cresswell
  • 30 Antonio
  • 27 Payet
  • 10 Lanzini


  • Nordtveit
  • Feghouli
  • 11 Zaza
  • 13 Adrián
  • 19 Collins
  • 20 Ayew
  • 24 Fletcher


  • Begovic
  • 30 David Luiz
  • 24 Cahill
  • 26 Terry
  • 34 Aina
  • Kanté
  • 29 Chalobah
  • 28 Azpilicueta
  • 22 Willian
  • 23 Batshuayi
  • Oscar


  • Alonso
  • 10 Hazard
  • 11 Pedro
  • 19 Diego Costa
  • 21 Matic
  • 37 Eduardo
  • 41 Solanke