West Ham held on for a well earned point as they played out a 0-0 draw with high flying Chelsea at the London Stadium. The result saw Chelsea’s 100% start to the season come to an unspectacular end in the London sun with the Hammers picking up their first draw of the campaign.
It was a quiet first half in which Chelsea dominated possession and endlessly pressed the West Ham backline yet to no avail. Sarri’s side did create the best chances of the half but failed to break to deadlock at the London Stadium. The first of these chances came on the 8th minute of the match when Willian whipped in a dangerous corner to Olivier Giroud whose volley was tamely hit at Fabianski who saved comfortably. Eden Hazard then created a half chance for himself as he beat Pablo Zabaleta for pace on the right side of the West Ham box but similar to his teammate, he failed to trouble Fabianksi in the West Ham goal.
The game then settled into a pattern of Chelsea controlling the ball and West Ham playing the long ball, trying to force quick counter attacks and catch Chelsea napping. This almost worked on the 30 minute mark when Declan Rice played the ball to Andriy Yarmolenko who ran with the ball from the half-way line deep in to the Chelsea box until he lost the ball which then fell to Michail Antonio, whose quick shot cannoned off the body of Kepa Arrizabalaga – even though he didn’t know a lot about it.
The second half carried on in much of the same fashion with Chelsea bossing possession and attempting to break the firm West Ham defence down. Alvaro Morata came on for the ineffective Giroud on the 64th minute and he quickly could have scored the first goal for the Blues and given his side the lead. The ball fell to him in the box following a free kick and his toe poke effort could only find the face of Fabianski, which was enough to keep the ball out of the net.
The best chance of the game however came at the other end of the pitch as Robert Snodgrass picked up the ball on the left wing for the Hammers and whipped a fantastic cross towards the back post where Yarmolenko was free but he could not put his header on target and it flashed wide of Arrizabalaga’s left post.
After that the game fell into a steady rhythm of Chelsea trying to find a goal and West Ham sitting back and keeping them out. The closest Chelsea came was Ross Barkley having a curling effort from 25 yards out which was put behind by an outstanding Fabainski save.
Are Chelsea fatigued following Europa League commitments?
Chelsea dominated the game and played some good football at their city rivals but did lack a cutting edge in the fixture. Perhaps fatigue had set in following the delayed trip back to England from Greece on Thursday as they did seem to run out ideas and generally lacked the high tempo which we have seen from Sarri’s side this side.
Do West Ham need Arnautovic?
West Ham could have walked away with three points today if they were more clinical in front of goal. Missed chances by Antonio and Yarmolenko meant it would only be a point for the Hammers. Luckily, Arnautovic’s injury is not serious and he should be back for next weekend’s game against Manchester United. If the Hammers manage to create similar chances as they did today, they could cause issues for United and Arnautovic will no doubt be involved in the action.
Has Pellegrini been working on West Ham’s defensive issues?
For the first time in what seems like forever, West Ham kept a clean sheet in 90 minutes. Although, it never really looked like they were going to concede. Hopefully for West Ham fans Manuel Pellegrini has finally solved the West Ham defensive puzzle. Pellegrini has potentially done this by playing a solid midfield three of Declan Rice, Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang who are all able to sit in front of the defence and offer a significant amount of protection for them, this is what Chelsea struggled to play through and what led to West Ham collecting a vital point today.
Man of the Match – Lukas Fabianski
The West Ham keeper kept Chelsea out in a professional fashion and when called upon, made the vital stops for his side. After conceding 11 goals in their first five games it was an important clean sheet for Pellegrini and the Hammers.