By Paul Lagan
West Ham v Chelsea
Timo Werner scored. Yep, he did. It was his first goal since February 15, and it was the winner against West Ham at the London Stadium that put the west Londoners three points ahead of the east Londoners and into fourth place of the Premier League as both sides battled it out for a Champions League place next season.
Had Chelsea got their way with the ill-fated European Super League, this game would not have matter for the Blues, but their craven statement of regret for trying to destroy the Premier League and Champions League in search for a shed load of money for playing glorified friendlies meant there was significance to the result.
The fact they secured the three points is a credit to the players.
West Ham with a host of players sidelined with injuries just couldn’t do enough to break through the Chelsea rearguard.
Timo Werner found free space inside the West Ham penalty area, after four minutes, but smacked the ball over Fabianski’s crossbar.
Mason Mount wriggled his way to a low shot five minutes later, but gain Fabianski was equal to the test smothering the ball easily.
A quick break by Werner on the left set up I’m-running Christian Pulisic, but the USA wide men’s first-time shot went straight to Fabianski.
After a period of pressure by the Hammers, the Blues broke quickly, with Werner winning the ball and feeding it wide to the left to Ben Chilwell.
The left wing zipped up the left, and cut the ball across the West Ham penalty area, where Werner followed up and slotted home smartly two minutes from the break.
There were no changes by either side t half-time.
Werner had a great chance to double the lead on 55 minutes. Mason Mount’s edge of the penalty area shot, saw Fabianski stretched to the limit on his right to stop the ball. Werner raced in and from a tight angle screwed the ball wide of goal.
Fornals forced Edouard Mendy to a save, West Ham’s first shot on target a minute later.
Jessie Lingard was next to test the Blues’ resolve, but this time a dipper went high and wide of Mendy’s goal.
Mount replied with a terrific right-footed long range curler on 63 minutes. Fabianski clutched the ball out of the air in spectacular fashion.
Werner did well to cut in from the left and let fly a goal-bound effort on 68 minutes, and not for the first time, Fabianski showed his agility, diving low to his left to parry the ball away.
Benrahma came on for Mark Noble a minute later along with Lanzini for Fornals.
Chelsea head coach opted to replace an ineffectual Pulisic for Hakim Ziyech on 74 minutes.
With 10 minutes on the clock, VAR intervened on a challenge between Fabian Balbuena and Ben Chilwell with the West Ham player following on his clearance by slamming his boot on Chilwell’s leg.
Referee Chris Kavanagh checked the pitch side monitor and decided the challenge was reckless and sent the West Ham player off.
Tuchel brought on Reece James replacing Cesar Azpilicueta and Tammy Abraham taking the place of Werner.
Abraham could not direct a header into a goal after excellent byline work by Mount deep into the five minutes of added time, but it didn’t matter as the final whistle was blown seconds later.
Teams: West Ham: Fabianski, Diop, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Coufal, Noble, Soucek, Fredericks, Fornals, Lingard, Bowen
Subs, Yarmolenko, Benrahma, Lanzini, Alves, Johnson, Trott, Randolph, Odubeko, Coventry
Chelsea, Mendy, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell, Mount, Werner, Pulisic
Subs: Kepa, Alonso, James, Zouma, Gilmour, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Abraham
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
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