Hammers Lose Stamford Bridge Battle
West Ham United had slipped to tenth in the Premier League table over the weekend and they remain there after Monday night’s London derby against Chelsea ended in a 3-0 defeat.
David Moyes made two changes to the side that drew with Crystal Palace last time out, as Fabián Balbuena was restored to the starting line-up after he had recovered from a groin strain, meaning Issa Diop dropped back to the bench. Saïd Benrahma also took his place amongst the substitutes as club Captain Mark Noble was preferred to the Algerian.
Manuel Lanzini would have been another option available to Moyes but he had picked up an injury in training so the Scotsman took the unusual step of naming one extra goalkeeper with both Darren Randolph and David Martin in the matchday eighteen.
It is just over a year since Manuel Pellegrini engineered an unlikely win here last season and Declan Rice gave the Hammers the perfect start again when his quick thinking from a free-kick allowed him to beat goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from a tight angle but unfortunately the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.
Moyes is still yet to claim a victory at Stamford Bridge in his managerial career and the Scotsman could have done without that effort being ruled out as shortly after, the Irons fell behind and it seems that Chelsea are as good at going ahead from set pieces as West Ham. Evidence of this was shown when Mason Mount’s corner was delivered into the box and it was met by the run of summer recruit Thiago Silva, who beat visiting stopper Łukasz Fabiański.
Having grabbed the advantage, Frank Lampard’s side looked to atone for their recent two defeats and they put their opponents under real pressure as they earnt corner after corner. To be fair to the East Londoners they withstood that spell and then started to turn the tables.
Although Silva was in the way of a volley from Tomáš Souček, while Rice’s clever cut-back almost picked out Pablo Fornals but unfortunately, it seemed that little would fall for the visitors.
Chelsea missed the chance to go further ahead just before the break as Christian Pulisic played in Timo Werner. Fortunately for the visitors though, his effort lacked power and was straight at Fabianski.
Despite being behind at the break, the Hammers had played well and were just hoping for that to continue in the second forty five minutes.
The start of the second-half saw West Ham go close through Sébastien Haller but he unfortunately couldn’t build on his goal against the Eagles and this effort went narrowly wide.
West Ham continued to pile on the pressure and could have gone even closer but for a crucial block at the last moment by home skipper César Azpilicueta to deny Fornals after Jarrod Bowen’s ball had found its way through to him.
That was in fact the Spaniard’s last action as shortly after Moyes made his first change brought on Benrahma in his place, while Lampard introduced Mateo Kovačić for Jorginho.
It seems that nothing was going to deny Chelsea their clean sheet and in fact, they then went on to extend their advantage as Tammy Abraham was in the right place to pick up the pieces and finish past Fabianski after Werner had miscued.
No sooner had that goal gone in than a third followed for Chelsea, when the youngster doubled his tally as he slotted the ball into the net after the Pole had initially saved Pulisic’s header.
With no way back for the visitors, Moyes decided to make another change in the last minute, as Bowen made way for Ryan Fredericks.
The defeat was West Ham’s first on the road since 31 October and now they will look to get back to winning ways on Sunday afternoon with Brighton and Hove Albion visiting East London.
With the January transfer window on the horizon, the Hammers have already made their first move by agreeing a deal with Danish club Silkeborg IF to sign defender Frederik Alves.
The 21-year-old will join the East London club for an undisclosed fee until the summer of 2024 and will more than likely start his West Ham career as part of the club’s Development Squad.