After a thrilling Manchester derby on Saturday evening, there was a chance of an exciting London derby on Sunday afternoon. However, as Chelsea surrendered yet another one-goal lead, they had to settle for a rather stale 1-1 draw with West Ham. Javier Hernandez’s ninth goal against the Blues cancelled out Cesar Azpilicueta’s scruffy opener.
Hosts dominate proceedings
On a day where the dreadfully sad passing of former Chelsea captain Ray Wilkins rightly took centre stage, the side he captained and coached looked to give him a final parting gift of three points. Eden Hazard had the first decent effort of the game as his strike from just outside the box flashed inches wide. Marko Arnautovic then had West Ham’s first chance from Arthur Masuaku’s beautifully weighted ball over the top. The Austrian brought it down well before seeing his chance blocked by the returning Gary Cahill; many argued he should have shot first time.
Alvaro Morata had the ball in the net after 24 minutes but he made his run onto Hazard’s pass just a tad early and he was rightly flagged offside. The two Europeans then combined again and some brilliant improvisation from the Spaniard nearly resulted in the opening goal.
Just a few minutes later, his international team-mate did what he had failed to do. A scrappy corner, which had caught the Hammers’ defenders napping, fell to Azpilicueta, who poked into the gaping net from a matter of yards. His celebration showed class with a dedication to Ray Wilkins; we’ve come to expect no less from the 28-year-old as he really is a model professional.
Chelsea crumble yet again
After what turned out to be a comfortable first-half, there was the perfect opportunity for the hosts to kick on and assert their dominance in the scoreline as the second period begun. Willian dragged a very good chance wide of the target just moments after the restart, a sign of things to come. Victor Moses and then Morata squandered decent openings, before the latter scored another offside goal.
With 70 minutes on the clock, Hernandez was brought on, a sight for sore eyes of Chelsea defenders gone by. His impact was instant and probably expected by large parts of the Stamford Bridge crowd. Cahill’s clearing header was far from enough, presenting West Ham a second bite at the cherry which Arnautovic took with open arms. He smartly pulled the ball back to his Mexican team-mate who smashed a brilliant low strike past Thibaut Courtois and into the bottom corner. With six goals against the Blues coming off the bench, it makes you wonder what took David Moyes so long to bring him on!
Joe Hart, who is still fighting for a place as England’s number 1, produced a top-drawer save to deny Marcos Alonso in the 79th minute. The ex-Bolton left back hammered a left-footed drive towards the top corner on the turn, only to see it kept out by an expert fingertip save. It was end-to-end stuff at this stage and it looked as though N’Golo Kante had executed a brilliant last-ditch tackle to thwart Arnautovic when he was bearing down on goal but after seeing replays, the Frenchman went through the man to play the ball. The visitors may well feel aggrieved with that one.
Hart then had to keep his side in the game once more, this time tipping Olivier Giroud’s bouncing header onto the post and behind for a corner. Five minutes of stoppage time came and went, meaning Moyes’ men took a huge point from the champions in their fight for safety. It now means that a place in next season’s Champions League is all-but-gone for Antonio Conte’s side after a match that summed up their campaign.