Chelsea started brightly and created several half-decent chances in the first 15-20 minutes, but were unable to make them count with each of the front three being let down by their weak or inaccurate finishing.
West Ham then grew into the game around the midway point of the first half, and created a more attritional game though with Chelsea still maintaining the majority of possession. The home side posed plenty of danger through their set pieces, as expected, with Azpilicueta perhaps getting lucky to not get called for a handball when making a crucial block on one of them.
Just when it looked like we’d go into half-time without a goal, Chelsea produced a perfect move, right-to-left with Werner setting it up with some good hold-up play and then finishing cleanly from a great ball in from Ben Chilwell.
Whatever David Moyes said at half-time worked wonders for West Ham, who came out with much more attacking intent after the break, putting Chelsea under increasing amount of pressure.
Timo Werner missed an empty net on a rebound to make things more comfortable for Chelsea, but the Blues were able to hold tight at the back, despite some moments of confusion and few uncharacteristic lapses of concentration.
A most harsh straight red for Balbuena made things a bit more comfortable in the final ten minutes.
- Plenty of changes from the limp midweek draw, with the only surprising selection being Azpilicueta as right wing-back.
- Ziyech (for Pulisic) with Mount dropping a bit deeper for the final 15. Like-for-like with James on for Azpi and Abraham on for Werner.
- A goal for Werner, would ya believe it!
- Another clean sheet
- Chelsea open a three-point gap over 5th, with Liverpool (6th) a further point behind and Spurs another point behind them. All on 33 games. Everton could close to within three points as well if they win their match in hand.
- Next up: massive massive first leg against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal