West Ham finds fortune doesn’t always hide with win over Chelsea
West Ham United have had some luck with two of their goals against the league leaders, but injuries could catch up with Chelsea.
Rumors of West Ham United’s decline may have been exaggerated somewhat. In an upside down game on Saturday midday against the Premier League leaders, they overcame the loss of a few players to injury to beat Chelsea on a day Edouard Mendy will almost certainly want to forget.
Despite all the progress West Ham United had made over the past season and a half, there was a feeling that David Moyes still had work to do. They are fourth in the Premier League but their position has become increasingly fragile in recent weeks as Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have all shown signs of life below them. It was the first game of the weekend; in the past, failure to win here would have likely knocked them out of that coveted Champions League qualifying spot.
West Ham entered this match following a mini-crisis, having failed to win their last three games, including two against teams – Wolves and Brighton – whom they really should have beaten if they were serious in the game. subject of their ambition. But that said, they haven’t played particularly badly in any of those matches. They gave Manchester City a game, and there might be little explanation for Neal Maupay briefly and unexpectedly transforms into Zlatan.
Did they pay too much attention to the Europa League? They’ve already qualified for the last 16 of this competition with one game to go, but form has started to drop and a few injuries haven’t helped.
At the end of the day, it’s a question of resources. Chelsea’s injury situation is much worse than West Ham’s. They miss Trevoh Chalobah, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell and Mateo Kovacic, but they have plenty of cover. Romelu Lukaku, who cost them Â£ 97.5million in the summer, continued to warm the bench, alongside eight other household names. No wonder they’re so happy to see the rule increase the number of substitutes become permanent.
Early exchanges found West Ham largely stuck in their own half, but Chelsea’s high press came at a cost. There were gaps at the back if West Ham could break, and Jarrod Bowen shot narrowly after a Thiago Silva mistake. Tomas Soucek shot a header through the goal, while Reece James tried from a distance Lukasz Fabianski and Kai Havertz shot into the side net from six yards.
Chelsea pushed and probed, but West Ham’s defensive positioning blocked them 35 yards from goal.
But after 29 minutes, Chelsea took the lead. All that absorption down the drain from a set piece, a Silva header from a corner, with his marker Michail Antonio seemingly otherwise engaged in his thoughts. West Ham tried to bite right away, but Silva had one of the most heroic 60 seconds of football we’ll see all season, and was in position behind Mendy to hack Vladimir Coufal’s low, tilted run seconds later. restarting.
With five minutes left in half time to go, Chelsea offered West Ham a most unexpected lifeline when Jorginho’s lazy back pass was poorly controlled by Mendy, who then knocked Bowen down as they fought. for the ball. Manuel Lanzini’s penalty sent Mendy the wrong way to bring the score back. On the touchline, Thomas Tuchel slipped on the bubbles released at the time of the goal, but the parity did not last very long. Three minutes later, Mason Mount’s low volley beat Fabianski at the near post to restore the lead to Chelsea.
Lukaku came on at half-time, but West Ham had also reshuffled and 11 minutes later they were tied again. Bowen’s low curling shot beat Mendy. It was the first time Chelsea have conceded more than one goal in a Premier League game this season. Bowen turned out to be the exceptional player in the second half, a nervous and disruptive presence, teaming up superbly with Antonio, who came out for the second half with more determination than he showed for a little while. With 14 minutes to go, he stretched valiantly for a low cross that was just out of reach, making contact with the ball, but ultimately couldn’t surround it enough with his foot to guide him to the inside the post.
Chelsea were out of color for much of the second half. The decision to introduce Lukaku seemed to be pointless, and West Ham’s second-half return ended with five minutes left when Arthur Masuaku, who replaced Ben Johnson injured in stoppage time in the first halftime hit a cross which can be deflected. Not all of the available replay angles were conclusive, but it certainly surprised Mendy, navigating inside the near post as the keeper struggled to redistribute his weight, which had been positioned in sight of a cross.
It’s hard to avoid concluding that injuries are starting to weigh on Chelsea. Their points lost this season are usually due to an oddly low-energy performance, but against West Ham they have been more lazy than usual. The penalty was conceded following two defensive errors of judgment in less than five seconds; goalkeeper Mendy was completely caught off guard for the game-winning goal. And things are so tight at the top of the Premier League table that they could end up in third place in the table by the end of the weekend.
Chelsea looked, if anything, a little tired. They also had a busy schedule and a substantial number of injured players were missing, and there is little that Thomas Tuchel can do to alleviate the kind of individual mistakes that led to two of West Ham’s goals. With the catastrophic circumstances surrounding the penalty and everything that happened to Masuaku’s cross to deceive Mendy so much, West Ham took a bit of a shot at this victory. But their efforts have deserved it and while other injuries – this time to Johnson and Kurt Zouma – will give David Moyes a headache with the Christmas rush looming and the team scattering, they continue to challenge. those who have become convinced that they are just placeholders in Fourth.