Chelsea 3-0 West Ham United
West Ham United will come away from Stamford Bridge believing their second half toil was worth far more than the result inflicted upon them by capital rivals, Chelsea.
Despite recording an important double over the Blues last season, David Moyes had endured a torrid time against Chelsea on their own patch. Indeed, the Scotsman hadn’t won any of his fifteen attempts as a manager. Nevertheless, the Hammers chief focused on what had already been achieved as opposed to what may lie ahead.
“I’ve really enjoyed the season so far, we’ve done very well, the players have had a great run of games and shown a lot of good characteristics to play well, with resilience and scoring goals too,” Moyes enthused.
“There’s lots of improvements from where we were before, but as I said it’s only a third of the season gone so we have to try and keep it going.
“This is a very busy period for us. It’s a good time of the year for football, but heading into it it’s always daunting because of the amount of games.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Chelsea went into the game off the back of successive defeats. And they survived an early scare – Declan Rice ruled off-side after netting from an acute angle against his boyhood heroes.
But Chelsea were to strike with their next foray forward. Thiago Silva arrived unmarked to meet Mason Mount’s flag-kick. Lukasz Fabianski a mere spectator as the ball flashed high into the Hammers net.
Aaron Cresswell drilled across the face of goal, while Sebastien Haller’s hooked effort was scrambled away by N’Golo Kante. But the West Ham response was somewhat subdued as Chelsea continued to press and dominate possession.
Fabianski used his feet to deny Timo Werner – this after Christain Pulisic had fashioned an opening. Meanwhile, Haller nodded wide after Cresswell had centred and Angelo Ogbonna over the top as West Ham returned from the break with a spring in their step.
Cesar Azpilicueta made a crucial block to deny Pablo Fornals a sight of goal, while Cresswell and Jarrod Bowen continued to cause a nuisance from the flanks as West Ham began to control proceedings.
But chasing the game left West Ham susceptible. Tammy Abraham timed his run before poking beyond Fabianski – Werner with the killer pass.
And within two minutes it was all over. Fabianski saved from Werner, but Abraham was on hand to slot home his second and Chelsea’s third from close range. It was tough on the East Londoners who had performed amicably since the turnaround.
Werner slapped the face of an upright as Chelsea went for the kill. The Blues ruthlessness had proved decisive although the scoreline didn’t reflect the efforts of Moyes’ side.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Sunday, December 27 when Brighton & Hove Albion visit the London Stadium (2:15pm).
Chelsea: Edouardo Mendy, Cesar Azpilicueta (Capt), Kurt Zouma, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell (Emerson 9’), N’Golo Kante, Jorginho (Mateo Kovacic 67’), Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic (Kai Havertz 84’), Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner Subs not used: Kepa Arrizabalago (GK), Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Emerson, Billy Gilmour, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud
Goals: Thiago Silva 9’, Tammy Abraham 78’, 80’
West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Mark Noble (Capt), Tomas Soucek, Jarrod Bowen (Ryan Fredericks 90’), Pablo Fornals (Said Benrahma 67’), Sebastien Haller Subs not used: Darren Randolph (GK), David Martin (GK), Ben Johnson, Issa Diop, Craig Dawson, Robert Snodgrass, Andriy Yarmolenko
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Dan Cook and Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper
VAR: David Coote
Assistant VAR: Nick Hopton