West Ham, Chelsea


West Ham striker Andy Carroll has warned Chelsea not to expect any 19th-centurey football when the Hammers take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.

West Ham were fearing relegation the last time the two met in a 0-0 draw during last season’s corresponding match which had Chelsea manager accusing West Ham of playing negative football not trying to win the match.

This time however Carroll expects his team to be far more aggressive after a run of 11 games during which time Sam Allardyce’s men have only suffered on defeat which now sees West Ham fourth in the league the highest they have been at Christmas since 1985, and Carroll believes they should not be afraid of Chelsea or Arsenal who they play at Upton Park two days later.

“They’re tough games coming up but we have a good team as well and I’m sure they’re going to be just as worried about us as we are about them,” Carroll said. “We’re playing great football and I think any team that we play against is going to be worried about us. We’ve got more than one attacking option – we play it on the floor, play it in the air, down the sides. Obviously we’re in the position that we are in the league and that’s well deserved.”

Carroll scored his third goal in three matches against Leicester last Saturday put West Hams change in performance down to manager Sam Allardyce.

He’s brought in some great players,” the striker said. “He’s changed the team around a lot, the players he’s brought in have settled in nicely and all the lads are buzzing about at the minute – and it comes from that really: the manager’s choice of players and how he wants to play now.

“Different tactics, different teams. He’s not the same every week. Obviously he wants a win but you’ve got to watch the teams, how they’re playing, how we’re going to break them down and win the game. He’s got loads of different ways of attacking; we’ve got loads of dimensions to go forward. We can do anything. That’s what our qualities are at the minute.”

Allardyce’s response to Mourinho’s criticism of his tactics at the time was to chuckle that he had outwitted the Chelsea manager. “He [Allardyce] knows how to beat managers and their tactics,” Carroll said. “He knows what they are going to do against us. It’s just a game of chess, really, looking a move ahead.”

Carroll is adamant that West Ham’s revival can continue. “Of course there’s a belief,” he said. “Everyone’s flying at the minute. Everyone’s looking forward to every game coming.

Every week we’re thinking: ‘There’s another three points, potentially.’ The next two games are going to be a lot harder and hopefully we’ll do the same.”

When asked about the fans and the songs referencing playing Barcelona next season the Geordie replied: “Fans are great, aren’t they?”

“They gave us a big lift when they’re singing songs like that, you know. We’ve played a lot of good games, obviously the fans are excited and happy with the way we’re going, just as we are, and, like I say, everyone’s happy at the minute at the club.”