Chelsea missed their chance to put pressure on the Manchester clubs above them in the Premier League as they succumbed to their fourth defeat of the season at a resurgent West Ham.
Even before the halfway mark in the season, it already looks like a second successive Premier League title is beyond Chelsea, who trail the imperious Manchester City by 14 points – following their Manchester derby win at Old Trafford. Antonio Conte’s side have now dropped 16 points in as many games, having dropped just 21 in the whole of last season.
Midweek exertions take their toll
Victor Moses was replaced in the starting lineup by Marcos Alonso in the only change from the side that drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in midweek, allowing Davide Zappacosta to return to his favoured right wing-back position.
The exertions of the midweek appeared to take their toll on Chelsea from the first whistle, as West Ham stepped up their intensity and in the sixth minute had the lead their start deserved. Michael Antonio and Manuel Lanzini were involved in a crisp build up as Marko Arnautovic cut inside to fire past Thibaut Courtois to give the Hammers the lead.
The Blues failed to create anything clear cut as Alvaro Morata’s tumble in the box was waved away by Anthony Taylor and Marcos Alonso’s challenge on Adrian following a goalmouth scramble earnt the Spaniard a booking. N’Golo Kante, industrious as ever, fired a curling shot from the edge of the area, which Adrian was forced to tip around the post in Chelsea’s only real standout moment of the half.
Blues left to lament another slow start
Pedro was brought on at half-time in place of Tiemoue Bakayoko as the Blues tried to change things, but their sloppy passing curtailed their attacking intent with West Ham being set up very well to play on the counter-attack. The Hammers also had a strong claim for a penalty, as Andreas Christensen appeared to handle a Arnautovic cut back, another decision waved away by Taylor.
The Blues did step up their intent in the final quarter of the game: Zappacosta fizzed a curling shot just wide of Adrian’s post before Kante flicked a delightful ball through to Morata, who fired agonisingly wide with the West Ham defence all at sea.
Eden Hazard continued to toil against a resolute West Ham defence but to no avail and David Moyes was left to celebrate his first victory as West Ham manager – much to the delight of the Hammers faithful.
Antonio Conte cut a dejected figure in his post-match press conference and Chelsea will need to improve in their next games as they face Huddersfield on Tuesday before hosting Southampton on 16 December.
West Ham, meanwhile, will be hoping for a repeat performance as they host Arsenal on Wednesday and are away to Stoke next Saturday.