West Ham V Chelsea at Upton Park : Match Preview

01 December 2012 03:35
West Ham V Chelsea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Allardyce not focused on Benitez

Renewing an old rivalry with Rafael Benitez will not be on Sam Allardyce's mind when West Ham meet Chelsea, according to the Hammers boss.

There has been little love lost between the pair since they had a clash of style and words when they were managers of Blackburn and Liverpool respectively.

Benitez had sarcastically suggested Barcelona were looking at imitating what he felt was Blackburn's robust style, while Allardyce said: "He's got personal with it for many, many years now. That's why I don't like him and the feeling is probably mutual."

The feud started when Allardyce felt Benitez had made a 'game over' hand gesture when Liverpool went 2-0 up against his Blackburn side in 2009.

However, as he prepared his team to face the European champions in the lunchtime kick-off, Allardyce is was not interested in going over old ground.

"I don't want to jump into that scenario, I am a bit bigger than that, I don't want to go tit for tat," said Allardyce.

"It was a long time ago, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and I am just looking forward to the game.

"All I do is look to compete at a level going against not just Chelsea, but also against a man who has a real good record, to see if we can upset them."

Allardyce will have midfielder Mark Noble available again following suspension, while on-loan striker Andy Carroll will be assessed after picking up a minor knee problem.

Meanwhile, Benitez admits Chelsea are desperate for a goal but insists scoring at West Ham would mean nothing if they did not win.

Interim manager Benitez has yet to witness either event in his two matches in charge, successive bore draws with Manchester City and Fulham.

Chelsea also failed to find the net in Roberto Di Matteo's final game at the helm, ensuring a run of three matches without scoring for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the club.

Benitez is also the first boss of the Abramovich era not to win either of his opening two games and it was the latter statistic that more worried the Spaniard ahead of the trip to Upton Park.

Asked if the first goal of his reign would come as a relief, he said: "More to win than score.

"We are close in terms of what we are trying to achieve in attack.

"The team has improved the shape in defence, but we need to be a bit quicker in attack.

"Scoring will give us all confidence. The team needs to score and to win."

Chelsea's five-hour, 21-minute goal drought can be blamed partly on an even longer famine for Fernando Torres, who has found the net only once in almost two months - and that was a fluke.

In the Premier League alone, the #50million man has now gone 10 hours 49 minutes without scoring, with the arrival of his former boss at Liverpool doing little to improve his fortunes.

Benitez admitted this week that Torres had lost some of the pace that made him one of the best strikers in the world.

That prompted former Olympic 4x100 metres champion Darren Campbell to offer to coach the 28-year-old in the art of sprinting, having worked briefly with the Spaniard last year.

But Benitez, who has prescribed Torres weight-training sessions in order to improve his strength, said: "It's interesting to have different ideas, but we have very good staff here.

"It's different running and running with the ball on the pitch, 11 v 11.

"[World Cup-winning manager Cesar Luis] Minotti, a famous Argentinian coach, said a sprinter has to run very fast, and when he reaches the line, he finishes. A striker has to run very fast to get the ball and then his game starts."

Chelsea will be without the suspended David Luiz. Luiz picked up his fifth domestic booking of the season in Wednesday's goalless draw with Fulham and serves a one-match ban.

Chelsea remain without John Terry (knee), Frank Lampard (calf) and Daniel Sturridge (hamstring), although all are pushing to make their comebacks.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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