Tonight sees the final game of our first weekend of Premier League action, and it is certainly one of the best. The resurgent Chelsea take on West Ham United at Stamford Bridge for a London derby that is far more evenly matched than you could ever have expected a few years back.
At the end of the 2011/12 season Chelsea were winning the Champions League, while West Ham were scraping their way back into the Premier League through the Championship play-offs. But last year West Ham won and then drew with Chelsea to finish 12 points above them in the Premier League table. This season sees a new era for West Ham United, who are building on the success of last season and looking to join the high rollers of the EPL. They will now begin their tenure at the 60,000 seat London Stadium, commonly known across the world as the Olympic Stadium.
Another big change in this new era is the club badge, which reflects upon this desire for West Ham to evolve into a global brand. It was approved by supporters back in July 2014, and contains a few noticeable changes. After the 2015/16 season when they moved to the London Stadium, the old Boleyn Castle was removed from the badge – a reference to the formerly nearby Green Street House, which was known as ‘Boleyn Castle’ through an association with Anne Boleyn (their former ground Upton Park was also known as the Boleyn Ground). This has left a more minimalist version that retains the crossed pair of rivet hammers, while adding the word ‘London’ at the bottom. Much like the new Manchester City badge that has arrived this season, this choice reflects upon an effort to give the club a clear and easily recognisable image for international audiences, emphasising its placement in one of the biggest cities in the world. They want to be a club recognised across the world and this makes the game against Chelsea tonight, and their season as a whole, all the more important for solidifying this status.