West Ham United relieved the pressure on under-fire boss Manuel Pellegrini with a shock 1-0 victory against London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
It was an entertaining match in the capital, with Aaron Cresswell giving the Hammers the lead just after the break with a brilliant goal. Michail Antonio thought he had got a second for his team as he converted after the ball hit his arm and then the post before he put the ball in but VAR ruled the strike out. That was all irrelevant though as the Hammers clung on to claim a marvellous win in West London.
Entertaining London derby
There were quite a few chances within the opening period of the match. Pedro and Antonio both had early opportunities but struggled to threaten each goalkeeper, before Christian Pulisic drew solid work out of West Ham’s debutant stopper David Martin. The American then had another brilliant opening to net the first goal but lifted his header over the crossbar.
Pulisic was one of the most dangerous players throughout the first-half and could have provided Pedro with the opener but the Spaniard just failed to get on the end of his teammate’s fantastic ball.
Martin inspired at Stamford Bridge
West Ham continued to hold on and it took a great block from Fabian Balbuena to halt Pedro’s goalbound effort. Reece James then also went close as his cross was deflected, wrongfooting Martin but it luckily bounced off of the upright.
Despite Chelsea dominating the majority of the play in the first-half, Manuel Pellegrini’s side came extremely close to claiming the lead. Robert Snodgrass picked out Antonio with a great ball and the forward looked sure to score with a great header, only for Kepa to produce a brilliant close-range stop.
Martin, in the other goal, continued to claim the headlines as he made a stunning triple save to deny Mateo Kovacic, Olivier Giroud and then Pedro, before Pulisic then also spurned a wonderful opportunity before the break but lifted his effort over the bar.
Cresswell opens the scoring
Whilst the first-half had chances, the second brought most of the drama. Chelsea had appeals for a penalty straight away as the ball struck Balbuena on the arm but the referee nor VAR were interested.
Blues’ fans were then even more frustrated as West Ham took a shock lead through Cresswell. The full-back picked up the ball on the left-flank, checked inside and sent a wonderful curling effort into the top corner.
That opener appeared to give the Hammers a renewed confidence as Balbuena again had a header saved by Kepa, before Antonio couldn’t get enough contact on the resultant corner to double the lead.
VAR chalks off Hammers’ second
The visitors thought they had a second with just over 20 minutes remaining as Antonio netted from close range. However, the Video Assistant Referee intervened and ruled out the goal due to a handball from the West Ham forward.
Chelsea huffed and puffed throughout the second-half, struggling to create any real chances of note. Pulisic did however have the chance to equalise late on but lashed his effort wide of goal as the Blues ultimately fell to their fourth league defeat of the campaign.
What a huge result this could potentially be for West Ham United and Manuel Pellegrini. The Hammers were under severe pressure to get a result following what has been a really poor start to the campaign. However, they travelled to Stamford Bridge with the confidence of a side that were significantly higher up the table. Defensively resolute, disciplined and concentrated, the three points were more than deserved for West Ham.
Chelsea: Kepa (6); Emerson (6), Tomori (6), Zouma (6), James (7); Kovacic (6), Jorginho (6) (Kante (6), 63′); Pulisic (7), Mount (6), Pedro (6) (Willian (6), 63′); Giroud (5) (Hudson-Odoi (5), 71′).
West Ham United: Martin (7); Cresswell (8), Ogbonna (7), Balbuena (8), Fredericks (6); Fornals (6) (Masuaku (N/A), 83′), Noble (6), Rice (7), Snodgrass (7); Anderson (7) (Yarmolenko (6), 71′), Antonio (8) (Haller (N/A), 76′).
Goals: Cresswell (48′)
Referee: Jon Moss
Yellow Cards: Fornals (65′), Yarmolenko (88′)
Red Cards: N/A