Last night was a huge game for Chelsea as we began our run of games in this very congested Christmas schedule. The majority of our fans had a lot of reasons to be nervous coming up against an in-form West Ham team and despite not playing particularly well, we took enough of our chances when they presented themselves and we got the win. Here are five things we learned from Chelsea 3-0, West Ham.
- Thiago Silva is the most important player in our defence.
Had Edouard Mendy been given a tougher test by the West Ham attack yesterday, this first point may have been different, but Thiago Silva proved last night that with his insane experience, tactical nous, and willingness to put his body on the line in the crucial moments, he is irreplaceable in our backline.
Yes, the likes of Reece James, Ben Chilwell, and Kurt Zouma have been fantastic this season, but I feel that without Silva in the team our defence just doesn’t have that calmness and confidence that he brings.
Even at 36 years old, Silva’s performances have been better than I expected and he’s showing absolutely no signs of slowing down any time soon.
- Tammy Abraham looked impressive
Last night, Olivier Giroud was given the rest that many expected him to get with his recent long run in the team. Tammy Abraham stepped in and put in a really good shift.
Against both Wolves and Everton, Abraham was brought on as a substitute and looked really poor. His first touches made it look like he had springs on his boot – he just didn’t look like he belonged on the pitch.
Yesterday, however, he was excellent. His touches and link-up play were much improved and he was rewarded with two goals.
After the game, Lampard said that his No.9’s performance was a huge confidence booster and hopefully he can take this forward into Boxing Day against Arsenal.
- The midfield lacked that ounce of creativity
The midfield three of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mason Mount looked strong on paper for last night’s game but on the pitch, I couldn’t see any creativity that would be key in unlocking the stubborn West Ham defence.
Kai Havertz is a player that has the ability to create chances, but his recent performances meant that he was dropped, and rightly so.
With Kante playing deep, we looked nice and tight in midfield and Jorginho was doing what he always does, controlling the game with his passes when we were in possession. However, just didn’t seem the right balance to have in the middle of the pitch.
For me, Mateo Kovacic should have started – I think he would have made a difference had he been on the pitch from the beginning, he offers a lot more when the team transitions from defence to attack. When he came on as a sub, you could see the difference that he made and it changed the way our midfield functioned completely.
- Reece James loss is quite big
With Reece James out with his knee injury, we are very lucky that we have Cesar Azpiliceta as a ready made replacement. But, for all of the Spaniard’s qualities, our right side looks slightly weaker with James not there.
Pace, crossing ability, and strength are all things James possesses over Azpi, and at times last night, the latter was often getting targeted by the West Ham attackers more than I feel James would have been had he played.
This is not a point to say that Azpilicueta is a bad player at all, but James’ absence from the defence is a big loss and hopefully, he can rest up and recover with all these big games coming up thick and fast.
- Timo Werner is having a tough time out wide
I know this has probably been said so many times, but Werner has been really off the boil of late. I now can’t remember the last time Werner played as a striker and I cannot see what he offers out wide.
His confidence right now is the lowest it can get and unfortunately, with Abraham now scoring, I can’t see Lampard putting him centrally any time soon.
Werner had chances last night and he just couldn’t convert them. They were good chances as well and people are saying that if he can’t finish these chances he’s presented with while playing as a winger, how will he play up front?
Yes, he played well as a winger at Leipzig, but at the moment it is not working for him out wide for us and it is very sad to see him struggling after his stellar final season in Germany.
We can only hope that things get better for him and he gets a goal soon, otherwise it could be a long season for a man that has shown he can be one of the best forwards in Europe.
Written by Luka Foley @UOGLuka
Edited by Jai Mcintosh @jjmcintosh5