Luke Moore looks at the Saturday evening game between West Ham and Chelsea and thinks the Blues will be far too strong for Allardyce's struggling Hammers...
"It's very difficult to find reasons to oppose Chelsea here; every fact you look at seems to point to a Chelsea win. Jose Mourinho has the best points per game away record in Premier League history (2.05), Sam Allardyce has lost all three home games he's played against the Chelsea boss, and no team has won fewer points at home in the Premier League this season than West Ham."
West Ham v Chelsea
Saturday November 23, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
Whichever way you slice it, and despite the now firmly faded glory of a 0-3 win at Tottenham Hotspur (almost seven weeks ago and the only game Sam Allardyce's men have won in their last ten league games), West Ham are in trouble.
They sit just outside the relegation zone on goal difference and have scored just two goals in their last four games in the Premier League. Their last outing was a handsome reversal at the hands of fellow strugglers Norwich City and they look utterly bereft of ideas when it comes to scoring or breaking teams down.
A glance across the squad list doesn't make for very nice reading either. Record signing Andy Carroll is still a couple of weeks away from fitness and the Hammers have eight other first team players unavailable through injury.
And now they welcome Chelsea to Upton Park. A team that, if they're not quite top of the list when it comes to teams Allardyce won't want to face, they're in the top three.
Chelsea sit just four points off the top of the table, but all is not quite rosy in the garden at Stamford Bridge. An exceptional October has been tempered by two games without a win in their last two outings and a feeling that Jose Mourinho doesn't quite know what his best team is yet, especially going forward. The charismatic Portuguese has so many different talents at his disposal that he occasionally appears unable to keep them all happy and playing effectively.
That said, the Blues are still an intimidating opponent and can, on their day, beat anyone in this league fairly handsomely. West Ham will need to be at their very best to secure even a point against a side that are legitimate title contenders.
The good news for West Ham fans is that we don't have to go to far back into the history books to find the last time Chelsea were put to the sword. Just under a year ago, this weekend's opponents were beaten 3-1 and Big Sam's Hammers will take heart from that result and hope it inspires another giant-killing. The bad news is pretty straightforward though - that result was the first time in ten years that Chelsea have lost to West Ham in the league.
Chelsea are obviously favourites for this encounter, and they currently trade at 1.645/8. West Ham are a very generous 6.411/2 with The Draw available at 4.1. It's very difficult to find reasons to oppose Chelsea here; every fact you look at seems to point to a Chelsea win. Jose Mourinho has the best points per game away record in Premier League history (2.05), Sam Allardyce has lost all three home games he's played against the Chelsea boss, and no team has won fewer points at home in the Premier League this season than West Ham.
Most importantly though, the Hammers just can't score. The game against Spurs was a complete anomaly and they haven't come close to repeating it since. Taking into account all of these facts as well as the news that defensive lynchpin Winston Reid is still absent means there's only one bet worth taking in this market and that's an away win.
West Ham fans won't thank me for mentioning that, over the years, Chelsea have dished out some absolute thumpings to their team. The Blues have scored three goals or more in league fixtures seven times in as many seasons and with the Claret and Blue's inability to keep clean sheets without Winston Reid, 1.9520/21 on Overs looks a tempting bet.
We have to factor in the Mourinho Factor though; the great man loves nothing more than a 0-2 shutout and, with half an eye on the Champions League next week he may well shuffle the pack. 2.0421/20 on Unders could well be the bet should Mourinho choose to shut this one down early and advise his players to not overly exert themselves wherever possible.
Opta tells us that West Ham are a very happy hunting ground for Fernando Torres (six goals in his last seven games against them), but the Spaniard looks likely to lose his battle for fitness after injury. If you think Mourinho is playing mind games and may well feature, then he can be backed to score at any time at 2.0521/20.
I like the look of an ex-Hammer to do the business though. Frank Lampard seems to thrive on the animosity from the Boleyn faithful and he can be backed at 3.39/4 to score at some point on Saturday. The big midfielder may be in his worst goalscoring drought for ten years, but he has three in his last four against West Ham and could well do the business again.