Chelsea’s recent drop in form worsened at the London Stadium on Saturday as the ever improving West Ham ran out 3-2 winners. Goals from Thiago Silva and Mason Mount had twice put the Blues ahead in the game, but the Hammers hit back twice through a Manuel Lanzini penalty and Jarrod Bowen before Arthur Masuaku scored the winner in outrageous fashion.
The hosts made two changes from their 1-1 draw against Brighton in midweek with Said Benrahma making way for defender Issa Diop in a tactical change to match up Chelsea’s formation on paper. Also, Lanzini came in for Pablo Fornals. This saw the industrious duo of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek in the middle kept together along with the duo of Bowen and Michail Antonio.
Whereas for Chelsea there were more personnel changes after a lethargic effort against Watford. They were boosted by the returning Jorginho and Reece James. Saul Niguez and Cesar Azpilicueta made way for them as did the injured Trevoh Chalobah and Christian Pulisic for veteran Silva and Hakim Ziyech. Romelu Lukaku remained on the bench on his path back to full fitness.
Much like Wednesday night Chelsea’s opponents made the brighter start to the game with Silva looking uncharacteristically shaky. He first gave the ball away to Bowen who ran at the defence and fired wide before the Brazilian conceded possession for the second time in quick succession to Antonio whose inviting cross was headed wide by the onrushing Soucek.
It was a rather tame opening 20 minutes but as those minutes passed by Chelsea grew into the game more and more with half chances for James and Havertz before the opening goal came in the 29th minute.
Mount’s appealing corner was met by the leaping Silva whose downward header into the floor left Lukasz Fabianski with no chance. Questions will undoubtedly be raised about West Ham’s marking as the Brazilian jumped unopposed.
However, the Hammers nearly hit back immediately through Vladimir Coufal. He found space just inside the box on the right hand side and his low driven shot beat a diving Edouard Mendy, but the dependable Silva was there to clear it away off the line.
That small passage of play was the fuel that this game needed and the home team, after a couple of chances from Mount, won a penalty thanks to yet another error at the back from the Blues. Jorginho played a ball back to his goalkeeper that probably wasn’t on, but the Senegalese was unable to get it out of his feet and eventually brought down Bowen. The resulting penalty was calmly finished by Lanzini to bring the game back level.
But West Ham’s delight didn’t last for long as a sloppy piece of play by Rice in midfield led to a Chelsea counter attack and Ziyech’s ball to the back post was met first time by Mount whose side foot volley gave Fabianski no chance at his near post.
HT: West Ham 1-1 Chelsea
After suffering a blow late in the opening half from a Kurt Zouma challenge, Kai Havertz didn’t reappear for the second half with Belgian Romelu Lukaku being given the chance for extended minutes for the first time since his injury.
Just like the first, West Ham started the half the better of the two teams and a promising counter attack for them was well snuffed out by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, although on looking at the replays Bowen was offside.
However, their second equaliser of the game came five minutes later. A long ball forward by Coufal found Antonio who knocked it back and after some sloppy Chelsea defending it fell to Bowen whose left footed effort across Mendy nestled in the far corner.
Right before the goal, Antonio Rüdiger went on one of his marauding runs forward but this time around there wasn’t a shot at the end of it as he played in Ziyech which came to nothing.
Things quietened down after the fiery start to the second period with both sides unable to fashion out an opportunity for the fifth goal of the game. In this time, Kurt Zouma went off injured with an apparent hamstring injury.
The game came to life again in the 75th minute with the best chance of the game so far falling West Ham’s way. Antonio out muscled substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi on the left hand side of Chelsea’s defensive third before picking out Bowen at the back post, who had lost his man, but as he was stretching, he crucially put it wide. Would they regret this?
This seemed to wake Chelsea up from their slumber as Jorginho’s low rolling effort from the edge of the box needed a deflection from Diop to take it wide.
West Ham hit back again as balls from Coufal, and Fornals had to be desperately cleared by Chelsea’s defenders.
Then in the 87th minute they caught the Chelsea defence napping and hit the front for the first and most important time. Masuaku was allowed to sit on the ball down Chelsea’s right level with the penalty box before unleashing a swerving shot that caught Mendy out at the near post and found its way into the back of the net.
The home side should’ve added a fourth soon afterwards as Antonio played Bowen in behind yet again, but the Englishman’s effort was high and wide.
FT: West Ham 3-2 Chelsea
Written by Harrison (@indepthFandC)
Edited by Dan Hill
Follow us on: