Allen Cummings virtually at the London Stadium
Hammers 1 Blues 0
Chelsea were the visitors to the London Stadium for a London derby with extra edge to it.
West Ham were looking for three more vital points to maintain the club’s climb away from the relegation zone while Chelsea were searching for points in their bid to earn a Champions League place for next season.
David Moyes stuck with the side that had taken all three points off injury hit spurs at the White Hart Lane Stadium for the second successive season with Tomas Soucek once again being preferred to Mark Noble in midfield.
Chelsea started like a team hell bent on avenging the 1-0 defeat inflicted on them at Stamford Bridge back at the end of last November. Tammy Abrahams was particularly lively up front, leaving Issa Diop in his wake before testing Lukasz Fabianski with a stinging shot which the ‘keeper did well to palm around the post.
Declan Rice and Mason Mount may be the best of pals off the park, but Declan wasn’t showing his mate any favours on it, with several strong but expertly timed tackles to break up the visitors’ attacks.
The Hammers first real chance came just before the half hour – Soucek won the ball in midfield and sent Michael Antonio away.
Evading a desperate challenge from talented youngster Billy Gilmour, Michail let fly from 25 yards out. The ball looked to be arrowing its way to the top corner, but somehow ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga got his finger tips to it, diverting it onto the angle of crossbar and post before skipper Cesar Azpillicueta gratefully headed the rebound behind for a corner.
The game remained goalless until the break – an excellent 45 minutes of football but without reward for either side.
Half time 0-0
We hadn’t seen much of the exciting Jarrod Bowen in the first half, but within two minutes of the restart he’d ‘skinned’ Marcos Alonso on the halfway line before cutting inside and unleashing a stinging shot that fizzed just wide of the upright.
Chelsea were become less and less of an attacking threat as West Ham went in search of the goal their endeavours deserved. Reward came in the 73rd minute. Aaron Cresswell and Antonio worked the ball down the left, before Michail jinked inside to the edge of the Chelsea penalty area, feeding the ball into the path of the advancing Bowen who, without breaking stride, stroked home with a perfectly placed shot.
The London Stadium, a cauldron of noise all afternoon, erupted!
Moyes introduced the experienced Noble and Snodgrass in place of Fornals and Haller for the final 15 minutes to see the game out. When the final whistle went the Hammers had secured another massive three points, completed the double over their west London rivals, and continued their confident move up the Premier League.
West Ham Fabianski 7, Ngakia 6.5, Diop 7, Ogbonna7 , Cresswell 7; Bowen7.5, Rice 8, Soucek 7, Fornals 6.5; Antonio 6.5, Haller 6.5.