West Ham skipper: We can beat Chelsea again under the London Stadium lights
PUBLISHED: 12:15 01 March 2017
Hammers captain Mark Noble is hoping his team can upset the Premier League leaders
West Ham captain Mark Noble has issued a rallying call to his team and the supporters to upset Chelsea’s march towards the Premier League title at the London Stadium on Monday.
The Hammers dumped Antonio Conte’s team out of the EFL Cup in September, but that superb victory was overshadowed by problems between rival fans inside and outside the stadium.
And Noble believes Slaven Bilic’s men deserve more credit for that memorable 2-1 victory.
“We’ve had to deal with that all season,” said the skipper.
“Whenever we have done well at home it’s been overshadowed by crowd trouble or people moaning. But every team who moves grounds has problems.
“To be fair to the whole team and the management staff, to get us into the position we’re in now, after the start we had, is a real credit to everyone.”
West Ham currently sit in ninth place in the Premier League, but are a massive 30 points behind leaders Chelsea, who have lost just three league games all season.
However, the Hammers have given them as big a test as anyone this term, only losing at Stamford Bridge to a last-minute Diego Costa goal, after the Spanish international should have been sent off.
The 2-1 League Cup win was another impressive victory over the Blues as Cheikhou Kouyate and Edimilson Fernandes netted.
But if West Ham are to emulate that victory they will have to do so without talismanic front man Michail Antonio after his sending-off at Watford on Saturday earned him a one-match ban.
“We are going to miss him, but hopefully we can get Andy Carroll back and we now have Andre (Ayew) back too which is great,” said Noble.
“The squad is starting to come together, taking the positives out of things. I don’t think we’ve lost away from home since October, apart from Leicester, which we should have won, so the away form is really good and now we need to address the home form as well.”
West Ham sit in comparative safety in the Premier League at the moment, so are there any ambitions left for the team this season?
“To be honest, after the start we had and all the stuff that has gone on off the pitch instead of on it – the stadium and training ground moves and the ‘Dimi’ situation – if we could end up where we are right now, I’d eat your microphone,” laughed Noble, who knows it will be a tough task against the champions-elect on Monday night.
“They’re flying aren’t they?,” he said. “It’s a London derby, it’s under the lights so I’m hoping we can make a good atmosphere, put in a really strong performance and get some points.”
Much will depend on Carroll, who has missed the last two Premier League games with a groin injury which has persisted.
With the Hammers reported to have turned down three offers from China for the striker’s services, they will be keen to get him back on the pitch and finding the form that saw him score four goals in his last four games.
Manager Slaven Bilic is hopeful, saying: “The cup game was really good, they didn’t start with their best team, but in the second half they put everybody in.
“Hopefully we are going to do the same this time round.”