The first-half’s pattern of play was established in the first few seconds already, with West Ham happy to sit deep and defend with five across the back, and Chelsea probing for openings through that.
That plan worked well enough for them, certainly early on, restricting the visitors to just a few half-chances. But Chelsea were still able to find a breakthrough, ironically from a set piece against the team leading the league in set piece goals. Michail Antonio didn’t jump, Thiago Silva did, and scored.
The pattern didn’t change after the goal and Chelsea were comfortable enough, perhaps too comfortable ... and just like last weekend, gave away and entirely self-inflicted equalizer. Jorginho’s backpass was poor, but Mendy’s decision not to clear right away even worse. Fortunately he only gave away the penalty, instead of a penalty and a red card. Lanzini made no mistake from the spot.
But there was time still before half for Mason Mount to restore Chelsea’s lead, with a lovely first-time side-footed finish from a Ziyech crossfield ball.
Chelsea were forced into a change at half-time, with Lukaku replacing Havertz, who had picked up an ankle knock from a strong (and clean?) tackle by Zouma. Zouma himself would go on to pick up an injury in the second half as well, incidentally.
But it were the hosts who made a much better start to the second half, and took advantage of some passive defending to score a second equalizer. Bowen was a thorn in our side all day.
Chelsea pressed for a winner, but it were West Ham again who found the back of the net, thanks to a mis-hit cross from Masuaku that caught Mendy out.
Such a stupid game and a stupid result.
- Chelsea line up as expected and predicted, though with Tuchel opting for Ziyech and Havertz instead of Hudson-Odoi and Lukaku up top to start
- Hudson-Odoi on in the second half, but then forced to play left back as well
- Mount now Chelsea’s top scorer on the season
- Third straight game without a clean sheet
- Twelve-match unbeaten run (eight in the league) over
- Chelsea technically still top, but both Liverpool and Manchester City in action later today.
- Next up: Zenit away on Wednesday in a bit of a dead rubber