By Brian Sears
23 December 2010
If the weather and the ‘elf ‘n’ safety folk allow, then the old tradition of derby games will be alive and well in London this Boxing Day weekend, with two capital derbies bookending the weekend’s Premier League fixtures. First up is Fulham against West Ham at midday on Sunday, and last up is Arsenal against Chelsea on Monday evening in a game with all the ingredients for a sizzler.
As our table below shows, Chelsea are top dogs in the inter-London league this season, having taken 10 points from four games so far against the other London clubs. Arsenal will complete their home games for the season against the other London clubs when Chelsea visit the Emirates Stadium, and will be looking for revenge. Arsene Wenger’s team lost at Stamford Bridge in October in a fourth successive defeat to Chelsea in the League.
The tide turned in the results between the pair with a pair of draws in 2004-05. Up until then, they’d played 24 Premier League games and Arsenal had been well ahead on points, 49-16, after 14 wins, seven draws and just three defeats. In the 11 games since 2004-05, Chelsea lead 23-8 on points from seven wins, two draws and two defeats. Arsenal want to do more than simply stop the rot – they want to open up clear water over the Blue mob, and throw down a proper title challenge.
The other of this weekend’s London derbies has generally gone West Ham’s way. Fulham have won just two of 13 Premier League meetings, West Ham have won six, and there have been five draws. The two Fulham wins were at Upton Park in 2001-02 and at home in May 2010. West Ham have an away monkey on their back that needs jettisoning before it floors them and drags them down to the Championship: they haven’t won an away game since the opening day of last season.