More Late Drama at The Bridge

At Stamford Bridge last season, West Ham United suffered the agony of conceding a last-minute goal. Just over four months later, they were denied a point by a VAR decision, as Chelsea came back from a goal down to beat them 2-1.

Lucas Paquetá was given his full debut in one of two changes made by David Moyes from side that fought hard to claim a point in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur three days earlier, as Saïd Benrahma dropped to the bench, while Emerson Palmieri took the place of Aaron Cresswell, who failed a late fitness test.

Michail Antonio retained his place, as Gianluca Scamacca was recovering from a virus. Connor Coventry is a regular on the bench nowadays and he was available to Moyes amongst the eight substitutes.

Chelsea were unbeaten at home but were keen to make up for Tuesday night’s performance in the defeat at Southampton, while the Hammers went into this game full of confidence after the result in Wednesday’s home London derby.

However, Thomas Tuchel’s side weren’t convincing in this game either, with the game being played at a slow tempo together with them wasting chances, but to be fair to the visitors, they were defending well and not making it easy for their hosts to find a way through.

Having said that, the Hammers were unable to muster an effort on target either, with Pablo Fornals and Palmieri not linking up play.

When the Irons did get close to goal, the hosts managed to thwart them. Antonio was bearing down on goal, only to have his progress halted by Thiago Silva.

Fornals could have sent his team into the dressing room with the advantage at half-time but his volleyed effort was narrowly wide. Referee Andrew Madley brought a uninspiring first-half to an end but Moyes would have been pleased that the scores were level.

It was a much better second-half with both sides going for the three points.

Both teams were trying to foray forward but neither could find a path into the area as they continued to cancel each other out.

The East Londoners were still playing well here and the may have even found a way to break the deadlock. Bowen sent a powerful shot in the direction of Édouard Mendy after which, Fornals and Paquetá worked hard to earn a corner and from that set-piece, Captain Declan Rice created space for Antonio to nudge the ball into the net and past Chelsea’s goalkeeper to bring a great reaction from those in the away end.

Tuchel’s men were twenty eight minutes away from making it a bad week with back-to-back defeats but they didn’t want that to be the case and started applying relentless pressure through substitutes Armando Broja and Kai Havertz.

On seventy minutes, Moyes made his first change with Antonio being replaced by Benrahma.

No sooner had Benrahma been introduced, the hosts found an equaliser. The Irons struggled to clear, which resulted in another substitute beating Łukasz Fabiański, as Ben Chilwell found the finish when he squeezed the ball between the legs of the Pole.

On eighty three minutes, both managers made changes with Tuchel throwing on Jorginho for Reuben Loftus- Cheek, while Moyes decided to end Paquetá’s game and give Angelo Ogbonna more minutes on the pitch as he continues his comeback from a long-standing injury.

Three minutes later and Moyes again shuffled his pack with Maxwel Cornet coming on for Fornals.

Just as the Hammers thought they would be adding another impressive point to their tally, they were dealt a big blow, as Havertz found the net to effectively seal the points for the hosts.

That wasn’t the end of the drama. Cornet, who had hit the post with his first touch after entering the fray minutes before Havertz’s goal, found the net for an equaliser but VAR intervened. After seeing Peter Bankes reverse his decision against Spurs in midweek, the East Londoners weren’t so lucky this time. An apparent foul on Mendy by Bowen, resulted in Madley consulting the pitchside monitor. This then left the travelling contingent in a state of disbelief, as he controversially ruled the effort out.

Moyes’ men have an early opportunity to get this result out of their system as they open the UEFA Europa Conference Group B campaign on Thursday night with the visit of Romanian outfit FCSB to Stratford.