Chelsea bounced back from two defeats in a row by securing a 3-0 victory at home to West Ham on Monday night.
Opening the scoring for Chelsea just before the ten-minute mark was centre back Thiago Silva. The Brazilian powered in a header from a Mason Mount corner for his second goal in blue.
Chelsea had to wait until the late stage of the second half to extend their lead, as a quickfire double from Tammy Abraham wrapped up the victory with 10 minutes to go.
After a defeat against Everton and Wolves in their last two games, there was an added sense of importance to what would already be a feisty London derby. It was vital for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to get back on track and claim three points that would take them up to fifth in the table.
In team news, captain Cesar Azpilicueta returned to the starting line up in place of the injured Reece James, whilst Jorginho also made a rare start in midfield. Back in from the start was Tammy Abraham, as Olivier Giroud was rested after his recent string of starts.
Despite initially moving the ball around well and seemingly settling into the game, the Blues almost got off to a nightmare start.
A clever free-kick from West Ham saw Declan Rice look to beat the offside trap after being slipped in on goal, and the returning Chelsea youth player showed his class by rounding Edouard Mendy and finishing from a tight angle. Rice’s joy was cut short however by the linesman’s flag, a tight call that was verified by VAR – the home side were off the hook.
That was immediately followed up by Ben Chilwell going down and needing replacing, feeling the effects of a challenge in the opening two minutes where he went over on his ankle. Emerson was brought on in place of Chilwell, who Chelsea fans will hope has not sustained too bad of an injury.
An action-packed first ten minutes was rounded off by Thiago Silva thundering his side into the lead with a brilliant header. Mason Mount delivered in the first Chelsea corner of the game, finding an unmarked Silva who ran onto the ball and met it with a bullet header.
The goal was a positive way to start such an important game, in a difficult fixture against a side who had started the season well.
West Ham responded well to going behind and had two chances in quick succession after 25 minutes. The match winner in this fixture last season, Aaron Cresswell, had the first chance as he drilled a cross right across the face of goal, before Sebastian Haller’s hooked effort had to be headed behind by Kurt Zouma.
The closest Chelsea got to a chance in the 20 minutes after taking the lead came through Christian Pulisic, who skipped through a couple of challenges and was almost through on goal before taking a heavy touch that saw the ball run out of play.
Right on the stroke of half time, the best opportunity for the home side to double their lead wasn’t taken. It fell to Timo Werner after Pulisic drove at the West Ham defence and found the German in space on the left, however, he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and his underpowered effort was easily saved.
That meant the score remained 1-0 at the break and it had been a half of few chances after the lively opening stages. West Ham had definitely grown into the game and it would be wise for Chelsea to get the points wrapped up sooner rather than later.
Popping up in the middle, his much preferred position, Werner almost atoned for his earlier miss by latching on to a cross from Abraham early in the second half, but the ball was just out of his reach as he slid in.
On the hour mark, Chelsea were given a warning from West Ham, as the ball broke kindly for Pablo Fornals to hit on the half volley, an effort that needed blocking by Zouma and looked to be troubling Mendy. The visitors were turning up the pressure and the possession stats were reflecting that, becoming much more balanced as the game went into the final 20 minutes.
Arguably against the run of play and at a vital stage of the game, Chelsea extended their advantage through Abraham. Werner cut inside from the left and fired a weak effort towards goal that Abraham managed to run on to and get a slight nick on to guide it into the net. It was the perfect time for Chelsea to score and Lampard would have been hoping that it was enough to see his side claim all three points.
After barely two minutes to think of adjusting their game plan since falling two behind, the result was all but confirmed as Chelsea put the seal on the win. Turning and running at the defence again was Pulisic, committing defenders and making space to find Mount on the left, who crossed in back towards Pulisic whose header was saved before it fell kindly for Abraham to score again.
One man desperate to get on to the scoresheet was Werner, who had another chance late on as he was played in on the right-hand side and smashed a shot against the crossbar from close range. Not his night – again.
The result provides a positive for Chelsea in their final game before Christmas, returning to winning ways after two defeats on the bounce.
Attention now turns to Boxing Day, as Lampard’s side face the mouth watering prospect of another London derby: Arsenal away.
Written by Dom Domaingue @dmdsport
Edited by Jai Mcintosh @jjmcintosh5