January 19, 2020, 22:53

West Ham 1-0 Chelsea: Talking points from Hammers’ surprise win

West Ham 1-0 Chelsea: Talking points from Hammers’ surprise win

Marko Arnautovic was the match-winner for a determined West Ham who pulled off a surprise victory over Chelsea at the London Stadium.

The forward found the net after just seven minutes and the home side then held the defending Premier League champions at bay for the remainder of the contest.

Here, we round up the talking points…

West Ham step up

From front to back, West Ham were excellent against Chelsea. From Arnautovic’s clinical finish early on, to the entire team’s determined defence and the relentless running from Michail Antonio, David Moyes’ men gave him everything he would have demanded against their London rivals.

Jose Fonte, the injured West Ham defender, praised his teammates’ intensity from the first whistle from the Sky Sports studio, and their early aggression set the tone for the afternoon. There were nine blocked Chelsea shots in all, as West Ham reproduced the resolve they showed against the waves of Manchester City attacks last weekend.

Moyes v champions

David Moyes has won five of his last six Premier League home games against the reigning champions. He was won all four matches against Italian managers in charge of the reigning champions (Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini, Claudio Ranieri and Antonio Conte).

Winston Reid produced 10 clearances, Angelo Ogbonna came up with six interceptions. They were game-high numbers from two standout defensive performances. But the Hammers defended fantastically as a team.

It wasn’t all backs to the wall – West Ham fans rolled out the ‘oles’ during first-half stoppage time as Manuel Lanzini and Arthur Masuaku teased the Chelsea players with tricks and flicks on the touchline – but the home side’s second-half stand against near relentless pressure will have fuelled Moyes’ hope this side can fight their way to survival.

Chelsea blow chance to close on Manchester clubs

If Chelsea fail to retain their Premier League title, it will be days like these they look back on ruefully. Coming into the game on a fine run of league form, they knew victory would have allowed them to close the gap on one, if not both, of the Manchester clubs, given United and City’s derby on Sunday. They squandered that chance.

There was a penalty appeal which could have gone their way and a bad miss from Alvaro Morata late on when he should have hit the net when unmarked 10 yards out, but no shots on target in the second-half (despite 10 efforts at goal) summed up the lack of cutting edge Chelsea showed at the London Stadium.

Chelsea remaining December fixtures

Huddersfield (a), Southampton (h), Everton (a), Brighton (h), Stoke (h).

A Sky Sports study at the start of the month revealed Chelsea had the easiest December fixtures on paper. After this unexpected slip-up they cannot afford to make any more mistakes. The problem for Antonio Conte and his players is that they may now have already left themselves too much ground to make up.

Penalty for Morata?

Perhaps this game would have panned out differently had Chelsea been awarded a penalty on 15 minutes. At 1-0 down, they can count themselves a little unfortunate not to have been thrown an immediate way back into the match by referee Anthony Taylor.

As Morata battled Reid in the box, the New Zealand international grabbed the Chelsea striker’s shirt at the shoulder – but the Spaniard’s theatrical fall didn’t convince Taylor, whose position obscured his view of the tangle.

“I think they could [have had a penalty],” said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp. “Reid definitely gets a bit of his shirt, he grabs it, he pulls it… the problem is the ref can’t see it.”

Arnautovic stars

It had been an underwhelming start to life at West Ham for the club’s record signing Arnautovic since his £20m switch from Stoke in the summer. Booed off against Brighton and questioned for his teamwork by boss Moyes, the Austrian had struggled to recreate the quality he showed last season.

However, he made his mark here, opening his West Ham account with a fine goal just seven minutes in, and then producing a battling performance which set the tone for his teammates.

A one-two on the edge of the box with Lanzini created space and a cool, left-foot shot into the far corner left Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois no chance as West Ham made the breakthrough early on. It was the first time Arnautovic had hit the net since April and his jubilant celebrations, which saw him jump into the crowd, earned him a yellow card.

But that booking was the only blot on his copy book on Saturday afternoon. He bullied Andreas Christensen throughout, winning the ball off the Dane in the first-half and then having a driving run into the area stopped by the hand of the Chelsea defender, which was considered unintentional by referee Taylor.

Christensen will have been pleased to see the back of him when he was subbed off on 68 minutes, but it wasn’t just his attacking contributions which stood out. The 28-year-old weighed in defensively too, regularly dropping back into West Ham’s third to help out his colleagues. It was an all-round performance Moyes will expect – and need – more of.

What now for Hart?

While West Ham celebrated an unlikely win, Joe Hart may well have left the London Stadium wondering what his future holds.

Moyes gave the goalkeeper his backing on Friday, insisting he wouldn’t be cancelling the player’s loan deal this January. However, he stuck with Adrian for this clash with Chelsea, after the Spaniard impressed at Manchester City last time out, and Hart’s replacement didn’t put a foot wrong.

It was a damaging call for Hart, who had shipped 16 goals in his previous six league games. While England boss Gareth Southgate has also given his backing to the shot-stopper, there’s no doubt sitting on West Ham’s bench will do little to boost Hart’s prospects of being his country’s number one at the World Cup next summer.

Jamie Redknapp says Joe Hart's England place is under serious threat if he can't force his way back into West Ham's starting 11

The 30-year-old has a battle on his hands to dislodge Adrian now, though. His replacement was handed a couple of physical blows from Marcos Alonso and Morata but dealt with Chelsea’s barrage of crosses into his box and saved well from N’Golo Kante and Davide Zappacosta in the first-half.

Sourse: skysports.com

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