West Ham picked up a point at home to Chelsea yesterday afternoon. But more importantly, it was a much-needed clean sheet.

The Hammers shipped 9 goals in their first three games of the season, but have shored things up ever since.

However, that elusive clean sheet still evaded the Hammers.

After conceding one goal in both their 1-0 loss to Wolves and their 3-1 win at Everton, West Ham needed a shutout.

And getting the first clean sheet against an in-form Chelsea team sent out a perfect message. Manuel Pellegrini has finally found the correct formula.

The Chilean has tinkered with his defence but he has found the best goalkeeper and back four combination possible.

Goalkeeper

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: West Ham United’s Lukasz Fabianski during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea FC at London Stadium on September 23, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Fabianski is turning into one of the signings of the summer. And this is not just for West Ham but in the Premier League as a whole.

The Poland international made two incredible saves yesterday. The first was with his face to block Alvaro Morata’s goal-bound poke and the other was right at the death as he pushed Ross Barkley’s shot away.

Fabianski has not been the problem this season. The 33-year-old has been solid between the sticks.

And what he offers is a calming presence behind the back four. They know that Fabianski will come out and claim high balls, make punches and keep West Ham in the game with saves.

 

Right-back

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham United in action during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea FC at London Stadium on September 23, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Pablo Zabaleta has been recalled in favour of Ryan Fredericks. The former Manchester City defender was solid yesterday against Chelsea.

Eden Hazard could not get past the former Argentina international, who is still full of running despite his age.

Fredericks is the long-term Zabaleta replacement but for now, there is no dropping the 33-year-old.

Left-back

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Arthur Masuaku of West Ham United tackles Willian of Chelsea during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea FC at London Stadium on September 23, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Arthur Masuaku had a few shaky moments yesterday. But the 24-year-old’s second half display justified his selection.

The Frenchman shackled Willian well and made several clearances and tackles.

With Aaron Cresswell out of form, Masuaku is starting to make this left-back spot his own.

Central defence

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Fabian Balbuena of West Ham looks round after heading the ball past Marcos Alonso of Chelsea during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea FC at London Stadium on September 23, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images)

I think West Ham have found their long-term central defensive pairing.

Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena were absolute rocks at the back. Both players are strong in the air, committed in the tackle and stopped attack after attack from Chelsea.

Balbuena was arguably man of the match and Diop’s performance was impressive too.

At this rate, Angelo Ogbonna will not be winning his place back in the starting line-up any time soon.

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