LONDON • West Ham United and Chelsea supporters face body searches, alcohol restrictions and post-match segregation as part of a "robust policing plan" aimed at minimising crowd trouble in their League Cup tie today.
There has been trepidation surrounding the fixture ever since the draw for the fourth round was made last month given the rivalry that exists between the clubs.
The fact it takes place at the London Stadium, which has been dogged by disturbances and incidents of violence following West Ham's move there from Upton Park before the start of the season, was another point of concern.
There have been nine arrests outside the venue, while 23 banning orders have been issued by West Ham, ranging from drinking in view of the pitch to breaking the line of segregation.
There are also fears there could be further trouble inside the stadium and across surrounding areas today for what has officially been deemed a high-risk fixture.
Chelsea have been allocated just under 5,200 tickets for today's clash.
Ticket sales for home fans have been limited to those with a recorded purchase history, while no alcohol will be sold pre-match from mobile bars outside the stadium.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said he expects an equally fierce and competitive battle on the pitch.
"Chelsea are one of the candidates to win the league and they have quality in all parts of the pitch," he said.
"They are big opponents. (Antonio) Conte changed their system and they have had some good wins and performances.
"They are very positive now and are playing good football. Five or 10 years ago, clubs weren't so keen on the League Cup but now it's important."
Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez also paid tribute to Conte and said that his manager is the reason behind the Blues' improvement.
"Conte has very clear ideas of play," the Spaniard said.
"We struggled at the beginning with his tactics but now we are getting it.
"This is the path to follow. To show our best version and go game after game to take wins."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS
WEST HAM V CHELSEA
Singtel TV Ch110, tomorrow, 2.40am