Chelsea 0 West Ham 0

By Paul Lagan
Last updated : 29 January 2014

Frustration for Chelsea best summed up this game as West Ham United ground out a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge tonight.
While the point is not lethal in their attempt to win the Premier League, it will have dealt them a serious injury.

With Manchester City destroying Spurs 1-5 to go top of the division the west Londoners must console themselves that they are still three points adrift of the blue half of Manchester and in third place behind Arsenal.

Make no mistake, Chelsea should have won by a cricket score, unless you mean English men's cricket.

The lack of cutting edge up front by Chelsea and extraordinarily adept defending from their east end cousins was a constant theme for the night.

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian was in inspired form and needed to be as just about every Chelsea
outfield player had a chance or half-chance on goal.

An early shout for a penalty after Cesar Azpilicuetla and Andy Caroll clashed in the Chelsea penalty aa was waved away by referee Neil Swarbrick.

West Han boss Sam Allardyce was fuming in his dugout at the decision.

The Blues went straight up the field on nine minutes, and were unlucky not to open the scoring themselves, when, after excellent set-up play by Eden Hazard, fed the ball to Oscar. The Brazil midfielder curled a delicious shot from the edge of the Hammers penalty area, and the ball seemed destined to drop into the back of Adrian' goal, but the Spain stopper managed to get the tip of his right hand to the ball and clip it onto his crossbar and over for a corner.

West Ham, while under pressure managed to create another chance on 11 minutes, this time James Tomkins found himself free to head on goal from a left-sided free-kick. Petr Cech, however was not dozing unlike his defence and he managed to parry the ball away with his right hand.

A speculative long-range effort by Ramires from 25-yards out gave Adrian a few heart flutters on 25 minutes as the effort started to curl from a wide position back towards goal, but unluckily for the Brazil midfielder not enough.

West Ham were forced into making a substitution on 30 minutes, Matt Jarvis coming on for Mohamed Diame, who failed to recover sufficiently from falling over an advertising board a couple of minutes earlier.

A flashing Oscar drive a minute later almost took Adrien by surprise and most of the crowd too, but the effort inched just wide of his right post.

A toe-poked Hazard effort from just inside the visitors's penalty area failed to trouble Adrian with four minutes of the half to go. The Hammers can take great credit to reducing Chelsea to half-chances and then from range.

With the seconds ticking down to the whistle, West Ham survived the best chance of the night for the Blues when John Terry powered a fierce downward header from a Willian corner, on target. Adrian, somehow managed to get his feet to the ball and scope the effort off his goal line.

Some wonderfully composed football followed which ended with Adrian, again the hero tipping away a low Samuel Eto'o right-footed drive from 10-yards out.

No changes were made by either managers at half-time, but the game started very much in the vein of the first, Chelsea attacking, West Ham defending valiantly.

Three minutes after the restart and the Hammers survived a scare when again, after controlled set-up play, Ramires shot on goal only to see his effort deflected away for a corner by James Collins.

The feature of the game, kept repeating itself, possession from the home side ending in a half-chance on goal. This happened again on 54 minutes resulting in Adrian snaffling another mid-range effort, this time from Oscar.

Eto'o failed to get onto an Oscar right byline cross a minute later, the ball zipping across the six-yard box with jig a Blue shirt in sight.

A lone foray up from on the left wing by Stewart Downing, on 55 minutes, was West Ham's first attacking intent of the night. It limped almost embarrassingly into Cech arms at his near right post.

This was followed up by a wayward had-volley by Ramires which sailed over Adrian's crossbar a minute later.

Frustration started to take hold on the Blue's dugout two minutes after Joey O'Brien scythed down Willian on the halfway line. Swarbrick played on and then gave O'Brien a yellow card.
Carroll, making his first league start of the season, lacked composure on 59 minutes, failing to gather the ball in the Chelsea six-yard box after Cech sweet a Downing byline cross into the striker'a path.

Matt Taylor followed suit by hauling back Ramires on 60 minutes.
Three minutes later and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had seen enough and made a double change, bring on ex-Hammer Frank Lampard for Mikel and Nemanja Matic for Cesar Azpilicueta . Allardyce replaced tired Carroll for ex-Blue Carlton Cole at the same time.
Hazard tried a long-range effort, on 67 minutes, after cutting in from the left, but saw his effort zip wide of Adrian's left upright.

Lampard almost nicked a goal on 71 minutes but after receiving the ball from Willian, just inside the Hammers' penalty area, he cut the ball back onto his left foot, and shot, again his effort, while on target was blocked by Tomkins.

He skied a 25-yarder, a minute later, that ended up in row Z of the Matthew Harding Stand.
Mourinho realising that the visitors were more than happy to defend the final 10 minutes , he threw on attacker Demba Ba, sacrificing midfielder Oscar. Allardyce reacted swiftly by replacing Mark Noble for Antonio Nocerino.

A limp Cahill effort from the edge of the West Ham area drifted into Adrian's arms as the clock ticked down to seven minutes to go.

Ramires went into Swarbrick's book for dissent a minute later.

A last ditch interception from O'Brien denied Ba at the near post with seconds remaining as West Ham.

O'Brien then limped off with an shoulder injury deep into added time leaving the visitors with 10 men.

A brilliant save by Adrian on the whistle denied Lampard of the winner they richly deserved for their dominance of the game. but it's the visitors who will take the plaudits for resolute defending and taking advantage of profligate misses by Chelsea.

 

Teams:

Chelsea, Cech, Ivanovic, Ramires, Oscar, Mikel, Hazard, Willian, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Eto'o
Subs, Schwarzer, Cole, Luiz, Lampard, Schurrle, Ba, Matic

West Han United, Adrian, Nolan, Tomkins, Carroll, Taylor, Noble, O'Brien, Collins, Demel, Diame, Downing
Subs, Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Jarvis, Morrison, Cole, Borriello, Nocerino

Referee, Neil Swarbrick

Ends

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