Chelsea 1 – 1 West Ham United: Blues Drop Points Yet Again As CL Qualification Goes Further Away From Them
Only two wins in the last seven Premier League games saw Chelsea’s hopes of a top-4 finish fade away rapidly and the afternoon clash against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge could have handed them a boost following Liverpool’s scoreless draw in yesterday’s Merseyside derby.
The Blues dominated the low-key London derby and were supposed to seek revenge for their defeat in the reverse fixture. However, missed opportunities cost them as they failed to defend their first-half lead when substitute Javier Hernandez pulled off an equaliser for West Ham, to spoil Chelsea’s party.
Chelsea started the game brightly and despite an early brief spell from the Hammers, the hosts were in control, creating opportunities one after another. Joe Hart made a stunning stop to deny Willian but the resulting corner was eventually converted by Cesar Azpilicueta, who earned the Blues a deserved lead.
Alvaro Morata was having a good game and scored twice in two halves, which, however, were rightly ruled out for offside. The Hammers kept on defending deep and the London giants were closing in on doubling the lead.
Chelsea, however, paid the price for wasting their chances as substitute Chicharito scored an equaliser against the run of play with around 20 minutes remaining. The hosts started showing more eagerness to earn back their lead but West Ham’s defensive rigidity and Joe Hart’s excellence helped the Irons grab a point by defying the odds.
West Ham Player Ratings
Joe Hart (8.5)
A Man of the Match display from the veteran English custodian who made five stops this afternoon to keep out the efforts of Willian, Marcos Alonso and Olivier Giroud with utmost excellence.
Declan Rice (8)
Had to deal with Eden Hazard, who was troubling the Hammers defence very often. The youngster stood tall, maintained his composure and did not allow the Belgian to harm them.
Angelo Ogbonna (7)
The Italian lost most of the duels but impressed with his passing accuracy as he tried to build moves from the back to hit on the counter.
Aaron Cresswell (6.5)
Struggled against Willian but threw his body on the line to block the goal-bound efforts. Was forced to leave the pitch after the hour mark due to injury.
Pablo Zabaleta (7)
The veteran Argentine did not offer much going forward but helped his defence in stopping Eden Hazard.
Cheikhou Kouyate (5.5)
Lost 10/10 aerial duels and won only 3/19 duels in the game as. However, he tried to dribble on a couple of occasions and also maintained a decent passing accuracy in a game where his side had to defend deep.
Mark Noble (7.5)
The skipper was excellent in midfield with his tireless runs and impressive ball control. Helped his defence persistently and tried to hold possession in the midfield amidst immense pressure.
Arthur Masuaku (6.5)
Delivered a great cross for Arnautovic inside the box but failed to replicate the same all game despite making some positive runs down the left flank.
Edimilson Fernandes (6)
Was sloppy at times while passing the ball as his mistake could have led to a goal in the first-half. The Swiss international, however, tried to hold the ball and did not panic. Was taken off around the 70th-minute mark and was replaced by Javier Hernandez.
Joao Mario (6.5)
The Portuguese playmaker tried to create chances for Arnautovic and succeeded on a few occasions as well. A decent display from the Inter Milan loanee who is capable of performing even better. Was taken off in the closing minutes.
Marko Arnautovic (8)
Tried to make something out of every touch he had and also assisted Hernandez for his emphatic finish to level the scoreline.
Patrice Evra (6.5)
Although he is known for his attacking intent down the flank, the veteran Frenchman restricted his game to defensive duties and succeeded with distinction.
Javier Hernandez (7.5)
Used to do the same, very often under Alex Ferguson during his Manchester United days, and the Mexican reproduced those glorious moments when he equalised minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Josh Cullen (N/A)
Came on as a late substitute in place of Joao Mario.