West Ham United will have a sombre Christmas Day after Frank Lampard’s Chelsea put three goals past them in the cross London derby.
Despite West Ham dominating most of the game, they were well beaten by a clinical Chelsea side. Tammy Abraham bagged himself a brace after Thiago Silva gave Chelsea an early lead. The Hammers played well but lacked any quality in the final third.
David Moyes named two changes to his side that drew against Crystal Palace last week. Issa Diop and Said Benrahma dropped down to the bench. Fabian Balbuena returned to his place in the defence after recovering from the knock that kept him out against Palace. Mark Noble was the other new man on the teamsheet.
The formation set up by Moyes was built to have more defensive solidity. Noble took his place as part of a midfield three with Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. Jarrod Bowen passed a late fitness test to complete the attacking trio of himself, Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller.
The first major incident of the match was a collision between Jarrod Bowen and Ben Chilwell. The defender went into the back of Bowen and was caught by the wingers trailing leg. The birthday boy Chilwell, however, after trying to play on was forced off the pitch and replaced by Emerson Palmieri.
West Ham thought they had taken the lead. A clever play from a free-kick found Rice. The former Blue rounded Edouard Mendy and finished from a tight angle. Rice’s run, however, was too early and the offside flag went up.
After thinking they had gone behind, Chelsea surged forward and scored the opening goal. Thiago Silva smashed a free header passed Lukasz Fabianksi to give the Blues an early lead. The goal was the first set-piece goal the Hammers have conceded this season.
After the goal, Chelsea continued to control the game and allowed the Hammers very little time up the field. The Blues were creating chances and passing well around the West Ham box, but for the time beating were unable to find the killer blow. They thought they had doubled the lead, but Abraham’s tap in was ruled out after the ball had gone out of play in the build-up.
The Hammers did start to get themselves back in the contest in the 25th minute. Cresswell had a couple of opportunities to get the ball into the box. On both occasions, the defender missed the mark with his delivery. Soucek and Haller also had wayward efforts of the Blues’ goal.
Bowen then had the ball in the net after a flick-on from Soucek. The winger out muscled SIlva to the ball and finished calmly. Bowen was adjudged to have used to much force to get the ball, and the goal was ruled out. Silva, however, did appear to go down lightly.
In the closing stages of the first-half Fabianski kept the deficit to just one. Timo Werner was through on goal after being played in by Mason Mount. The German’s finish was poor, but Fabianski still did well to keep it out.
Despite the early goal for Chelsea, David Moyes would have been happy with his side’s performances in the first half. The Hammers will have felt aggrieved not to have been level after Bowen’s disallowed goal.
Both sides were unchanged for the second half. West Ham had the first chance of the second half. Cresswell played in a great cross and Haller met it with his head. The Ivorian international was unable to direct his header on goal, and it bounced wide.
Fifteen minutes after the restart the Hammers what been enjoying the majority of possession. The visitors were playing well and controlling the game, but they were lacking quality in the final ball and weren’t able to create any clearcut chances. Their best chance was an effort from Fornals, which was well blocked.
David Moyes did look to make an attacking change as Said Benrahma came into the action. Fornals was the man to be replaced after a mixed display. Frank Lampard also made a change, dragging Jorginho for Mateo Kovacic.
West Ham hadn’t gone a game without scoring in the Premier League since the opening day of the season. After 77 minutes they hadn’t mustered a shot on target. Chelsea, however, hit the target again and Abraham doubled their lead.
The England striker got on the end of a mishit shot from Werner and slotted past Fabianski. There were calls for offside, but Cresswell was playing Abraham well onside. Only a minute later, Abraham put the game to bed.
Christian Pulisic met a cross from Mount. Fabianski kept the American’s header out, but the rebound fell to the feet of Abraham. The England striker slammed the ball home to make it three. Cresswell will be angry with himself as he was caught ball watching on both occasions.
Chelsea almost made it four in the 88th minute. N’Golo Kante burst forward after winning the ball and played in Werner. The German striker hammered his shot against the crossbar when he should have scored.
Moyes had clearly decided for damage control over an attempt to get anything from the game. Ryan Fredericks was sent on to tighten up the defence, and the forward Jarrod Bowen was taken off after a tireless performance.
Before tonight Lampard had never beaten West Ham as a manager and will have been happy to see that run come to an end. Next for the Hammers is a return to the London Stadium to take on South Coast side, Brighton.