It is two weeks since Chelsea’s last fixture, but the fallout still goes on from their dramatic draw at West Brom. A highly controversial injury-time penalty won by Ramires that handed Chelsea a point resulted in the referee in question, Mike Riley, phoning West Brom manager Steve Clarke to apologize. Unsurprisingly, speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with West Ham, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was none too happy about the situation.
“Nobody called me to apologize about the fact that it wasn't a free-kick when West Brom scored their second goal, nobody apologized to me for the penalty at Everton that would have made it 1-1 for us,” he said, according to Chelsea’s official website.
“I'm curious to know if it was just an isolated phone call. I'm curious to know if people see that as a normal situation, or if this is the start, and from now on it's going to be the same for everybody. I'm very curious to know, and I'm very curious to know the consequences of it.
“At least now the referees know one thing: if they make a controversial decision that hypothetically favors Chelsea, they know they are going to be publicly exposed by their boss. They can make mistakes hypothetically favoring other teams but nothing happens.”
Mourinho may well be glad for the controversy, partially obscuring as it has the fact that it was another poor performance by Chelsea following their defeat at Newcastle United the previous weekend. Chelsea’s problems have chiefly come on the road where they have won just once in five matches in the Premier League this season. At Upton Park, Mourinho will again be unable to call upon Fernando Torres but Ashley Cole will play despite still feeling pain from a rib injury.
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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce would dream of such paltry injury worries and a squad of Chelsea’s depth with which to cope. Chief among his problems is the failure of Andy Carroll to make a single appearance since turning his loan move into a permanent deal this summer.
Without an adequate replacement, Allardyce has been playing without a striker in recent weeks. Unsurprisingly, only one side has scored fewer goals than them in the Premier League thus far.
Worryingly, Allardyce has no idea when Carroll will be fit.
“We are trying to get a date out of the guys over in Amsterdam [where he is being treated] but they are reluctant to give us any clear indication of when he's going to be able to join us back here and start training with the squad and getting back into the team,” he said, according to the club’s official website.
"It's obviously a great worry and concern for us all and one we have to make sure we deal with. To take the pressure off us all, we need results that we haven't achieved in the first eleven games."
West Ham now have fitness worries at the back too, with Razvan Rat likely to miss out on Saturday after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty and joining Winston Reid on the sidelines. Joey O’Brien and James Collins also suffered knocks, but Allardyce hopes to have them available.
Where to watch: The Premier League match will kick off from Upton Park at 12.30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBC, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.