Red card controversy as Hammers slip

West Ham United 0-1 Chelsea

Ten-man West Ham United’s hopes of a top-four finish were dealt a further blow as Chelsea inflicted a single-goal setback on the jaded East Londoners.

Timo Werner netted the all-important goal, while West Ham has every right to be angry over a late red card brandished to defender Fabian Balbuena following the intervention of VAR.

Ahead of the game, David Moyes had called for a little more care with game management from his charges: “We’ve been highly entertaining recently, and if that continues to bring results I’d take it, but I’d like to get back to keeping some clean sheets too,” the Scotsman explained.

“I’d like a few 1-0’s, but last year we beat Chelsea 3-2, Yarmolenko scored the goal and it was the win that gave us a real platform to secure our position. I’ll take that all day long if you could give me that again.”

But the Hammers were to suffer back-to-back defeat, leaving them three points behind their West London rivals.

Werner fizzed over after Mason Mount had provided an opening from the right, then the German tested Lukasz Fabianski’s resolve as Chelsea – disappointing in midweek against Brighton – offered the immediate threat.
Another Werner effort was deflected behind as the Blues continued to apply the pressure – in Inbetween, Ryan Fredericks was wayward as the Hammers looked for some respite.

Tomas Soucek’s effort appeared to rebound to safety off Cesar Azpilicueta’s arm – Referee, Chris Kavanagh unmoved by the Hammers appeals. But when Werner was provided with another opportunity – this time by Ben Chilwell – he made no mistake from eight yards in firing Chelsea ahead a minute before the interval.

Werner missed a sitter nine minutes after the restart – somehow guiding wide of a gaping goal after Fabianski had clawed out Mount’s speculative attempt. Meanwhile, a tentative strike from Pablo Fornals was comfortably dealt with by Edouardo Mendy. A reminder to the visitors’ that despite their dominance, the game was far from over at this stage.

Indeed, the Hammers began to offer some resistance. Fredericks route to goal was blocked, while Jesse Lingard was a whisker away with a fearsome parabola from just outside the box.

Fabianski produced two superb saves to deny Mount from distance and then Werner from a lot closer.

In the closing stages, West Ham were reduced to ten men – Balbuena sent off after a lengthy VAR check following a strong challenge on Ben Chilwell. Very harsh on the home side – Moyes, clearly disgusted on the touchline.

West Ham United return to Premier League action on Monday, May 3 when they face Burnley at Turf Moor (8:15pm).

West Ham United: Łukasz Fabiański, Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna, Vladimir Coufal, Mark Noble (Capt) (Manuel Lanzini 69’), Tomas Souček, Ryan Fredericks (Ben Johnson 79’), Pablo Fornals (Said Benrahma 69’), Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen Subs not used: Darren Randolph (GK), Nathan Trott (GK), Alves, Conor Coventry, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ademipo Odubeko

Booked: None
Sent Off: Fabian Balbuena (foul)
Goals: None

Chelsea: Edouardo Mendy, Antonio Rüdiger, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Caesar Azpilicueta (Capt) (Reece James 86’), N’Golo Kanté, Jorginho, Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic (Hakim Ziyech 73’), Timo Werner (Tammy Abraham 87’) Subs not used: Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK), Marcus Alonso, Kurt Zouma, Billy Gilmour, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Kai Havertz

Booked: Timo Werner (foul), Andreas Christensen (foul)
Goals: Timo Werner 43’

Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Adam Nunn and Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Mike Dean
VAR: Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday

Brian Jeeves

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