Chelsea increased the pressure on their rivals after a win over West Ham took them to third in the Premier League. Another stellar performance by their main man Eden Hazard, saw them ease past West Ham.
Chelsea got going since the first minute and had a few chances early on in the game before Hazard produced a moment of individual brilliance to put Chelsea ahead after 24 minutes. West Ham came close to getting a goal back in the second half, but nothing significant materialized. A cross from Ross Barkley found Hazard in acres of space as he calmly slotted a shot past Fabianski to finish off the game just before stoppage time.
West Ham had a few decent spells throughout the game, but failed to actually control the game, and were beaten by an in-form Chelsea team in this London Derby. Let us take a look at 5 talking points from the game at Stamford Bridge.
#5 Sarri continues to put faith in Chelsea youngsters
Maurizio Sarri started Chelsea youngsters Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi for the second game in a row, and this being only the second Premier League start for the latter. Neither of them disappointed in the rare start offered to them by their manager. Loftus-Cheek was solid in the midfield as Chelsea drove forward, and was back there to support the Chelsea defence. He also happened to be the provider for Hazard’s terrific first-half goal.
Hudson-Odoi didn’t have as much of an effect as he did against Brighton but still managed to run at defenders and get some crosses into the box, although no one was there to receive it. He even had a couple of chances to score but failed to do so. Both the players are fitting well into the team and have repaid their managers trust in them.
#4 Hazard shines, again!
Eden Hazard showed us why he is considered one of the best players in the world as he dazzled and glided past the West Ham defence. His solo goal, worthy of the Premier League goal of the season, tells us exactly why Real Madrid are behind his signature for so long. He has been essential to Chelsea this season, having played a part in almost half of all the goals they scored this season. Chelsea will find it very difficult to replace the man who has been their best player for a long time if he does indeed move to Real Madrid.
#3 Chelsea given boost in the top-four race
Chelsea moved into third above Tottenham and Arsenal with this win, increasing the pressure on their rivals. The top-four race gets more and more crucial as the weeks keep going, and it is important that teams win matches to keep their hopes alive. Their current form, along with points dropped recently by their rivals has given Chelsea a massive boost in their aspirations of finishing in the top-four.
#2 Manuel Pellegrini’s gameplan didn’t work
West Ham sat deep for most of the game and allowed the Chelsea team to come forward in a bid to hit them on the counter. It did not quite go as planned for the Hammers, as the Chelsea defence was more than able to with their attack. They began the second half well, with Snodgrass coming on for Javier Hernandez, West Ham retained more possession and pushed forward in the search for the all-important equalizer. They came close a couple of times with efforts from Lanzini and Felipe Anderson almost creeping into the goal. Other than these few chances, they did not really cause trouble to the Chelsea defence.
#1 West Ham’s poor away form continues
West Ham have not won an away game in their last eight away matches across all competitions, and it showed tonight, as they were not really really struggled to produce anything meaningful at Stamford Bridge. They struggled to create chances, when in the opposition third, and failed to capitalize on the few opportunities that were handed to them. By no means did West Ham have a poor game. They took the fight to Chelsea in the second half, and more often than not, Chelsea players had to track back to defend against the West Ham attack.
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