BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea were humbled at the London Stadium this afternoon as relegation-haunted West Ham inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Blues.
Chelsea never recovered from a poor start that saw striker Marko Arnautovic slot home a seventh minute goal.
The Blues never had a shot on target in the second half and, despite the home side’s insistence on time-wasting, the visitors never took advantage of it.
Referee Anthony Taylor’s five minutes of added time simply zipped by.
The Premier League title is effectually over and now the Blues must be looking carefully at securing even fourth place to ensure Champions league football next season.
Sleepy Chelsea went behind after six minutes when Marco Arnautovic skipped inside the Blues defence and cooly slotted home a curling left footer, wide the desperate dive to his right by Thibaut Courtois.
Arnautovic was given a yellow card for celebrating with the crowd.
Alvaro Morata claimed a penalty, on 14 minutes, after a challenge by Winston Reid, but the referee Anthony Taylor ignored the pullback on the striker’s shirt by the defender.
The Blues had a great chance to level when a volley by Eden Hazard, eight yards out, on the left was missed by Morata and Tiemoure Bakayoko, both in good central positions.
A N’Golo Kante curler was well saved by Adrian on 27 minutes and, from the follow-up corner, Davide Zappacosta’s left foot drive was also well saved by the goalkeeper.
The distinct lack of pace shown by the Blues was identified by Antonio Conte and he replaced ineffectual Bakayoko with Spanish live wire Pedro at half-time.
The Blues were far more aggressive in their approach play at the restart
And it was no surprise that Conte opted for more pace and replaced Marcos Alonso, who had been suffering all week with a mild illness on 56 minutes.
Zappacosta, who was moved to the left was inches wide with a curling right-footer as the Blues piled on the pressure.
Conte then injected more width by taking offs Zappacosta and bringing on Willian with 25 minutes left.
Morata had a great chance with seven minutes on the clock, beating the offside chance and unmarked, he somehow managed to screw his shot wide of goal from eight yards out out.
Hazard the same a left-footer from the edge of the penalty area shoot well wide of Adrian’s goal.
West Ham had six players yellow-carded many for time wasting. It was effective as the Blues simply ran out of puff and lacked they desired determination to grasp a late equaliser.
Chelsea: Courtois, Alonso, Fabregas, Kante, Morata, Hazard, Bakayoko, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta
Subs: Caballero, Rudiger, Pedro, Moses, Willian, Batshuayi, Ampadu
West Ham: Adrian, Reid, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Arnautovic, Lanzini, Obliang, Noble, Ognonna, Masuaku, Antonio
Subs: Hart, Carroll, Sakho, Chicharito, Ayew, Fernandes, Rice
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