West Ham’s Premiership survival last year required a lot of luck. The were bound for relegation, 11 Premiership matches without a win and a difficult trip to Ewood Park to face European hopefuls Blackburn ahead of them.
However, with the score at 1-1, Bobby Zamora’s shot hit Carlos Tevez before crossing the line. Tevez was in an offside position and the ball failed to cross the line. Howard Webb gave a goal and West Ham went on to win 2-1. Everyone knows what followed, Sheffield United weren’t happy, but the Hammers won 7 of their last 9 games to stay up!
This time around and West Ham aren’t struggling. They are 10th, underachieving maybe. Blackburn lie 8th (not including Saturday’s matches), seven points ahead having played a game more.
The statistics don’t look good for the London side. They are yet to beat a north west club this season while Blackburn are undefeated in 8 encounters with clubs from the capital! Rovers have lost 1 of the last 7 home games (4-0 against Aston Villa) and stand much better in the head to head. Blackburn have won 28 of the meetings between the sides at Ewood Park, with only 11 wins for West Ham and 5 draws.
The game also sees a return to Blackburn for Lucas Neill and Craig Bellamy. Unlikely that the pair will get a good reception from the Ewood faithful! Neill’s decision to quit Rovers was met poorly by the fans, similarly was that of Bellamy to Liverpool.
The one thing going in West Ham’s favour is that they have a full squad to choose from. Blackburn are without their solid and reliable captain Ryan Nelsen and England hopeful David Bentley, who scored twice in the win against Newcastle on Saturday, both are suspended for one game.
Despite being without two good players in Nelsen and Bentley, Blackburn can call on Andre Oijer and Steven Reid to fill the gaps. West Ham are a good side but the home advantage will give Rovers the edge.
Blackburn Rovers 2-1 West Ham United