West Ham United 2-1 Chelsea FC
Saturday’s 3pm kick off was more than likely to be the last ever time Chelsea visit the Boleyn Ground, that just spurred the West Ham fans on even more so for the game. Bilic was forced into one change with Moses not being allowed to play against his parent club following his season long loan to West Ham, so Mauro Zarate got the go ahead to start the game. But other than that the team remained the same from our away game against Crystal Palace.
The first half of this game was always going to be a bit of a tricky one, no one can really tell what Chelsea will be like this season, but everyone know it has to get better at some point we just hoped that day wasn’t now.
We started well but allowed Chelsea to keep hold of the ball and counter as they lost possession of it that in turn brought a yellow card for Matic who pulled down a player as we broke away. Later on he saw red after clearly pulling and blocking off Sakho after he knocked the ball around him. This was the point where Chelsea lost their discipline with 3 other yellows being given out and a coach being sent down the tunnel after stepping onto the pitch in anger at the red card.
The opening goal came from a corner, the ball somehow went through a bundle of bodies and was met by Zarate on the half volley who beat Begovic at his near post to edge us in front.
From time to time all teams deserve a bit of luck and West Ham got 2 bits during the first 45 minutes. One with the aid of goal line technology giving us a helping hand, to confirm that Lanzini cleared the ball with literally the most tiny bit of the ball still not over the line. And then secondly a Cesc Fabregas goal ruled out for offside, this was also a unbelievably tight call where in some occasions the benefit of the doubt is given to the attacker, but not in this scenario.
Payet once again put in a top performance, showing that even against the top teams and players he can use his talent to make them look silly at times. His confidence is huge right now and that’s shown with all the clever little flicks and passes that he produces throughout the game.
The second half did not get off to the start we all thought it would, the players seemed asleep and even the loyal fans were quite. The pressure grew and as a result of that Chelsea managed to grab an equaliser from another corner that was poorly dealt with from the defending team. That passage of play definitely woke us up and prompted Bilic into brining on Andy Carroll who received a big cheer as he came on for Zarate.
And no fewer than just 10 minutes later, he popped up with what looked to be the winner in the 79th minute of the game, a fantastic cross from Cresswell met by a leaping Carroll who brilliantly headed in past a helpless Begovic who had kept us out for a lot of the game with some fine saves.
Looking back on the game afterwards, It was a good call in my opinion to keep Collins in the team, as he offer a slightly more aggressive side which is always need when you play the likes of Diego Costa, and again the Welshman played very well to the delight of his fans.
With the loss of Moses, many expected to see Antonio get a chance that I think to be fair he deserves, however Bilic decided against this as he was again an unused substitute. But there’s no doubt he’ll get a go soon enough, it’s down to him to show the boss what he can do in training and then on the actual pitch.
One past point from this game as I mentioned before was how good it is to see Andy Carroll back and back amongst the goals, not only is that great for himself but also for the fans who have been very patient since he arrived and now it’s time for him to show us why.
Man of the Match
I’ve again narrowed it down to 2 possible players. The first of them is Aaron Cresswell, he had a very good game and looks to have put the early season mistakes well behind him as he tries to get back to the form that won him hammer of the year last season. He ran up and down the line all game, pitching in with the assist that resulted in the winning goal. But also got back and helped to keep the danger men that Chelsea have at bay.
However I’d like to give this week’s man of the match to Cheikhou Kouyate who was fantastic throughout, showing us why he’s been one of the stand out players so far. He showed extraordinary energy today even in the last stages of the game, his ability to take the ball and run with it helped us massively as it got the ball away from the goal given the defenders a rest, he picked passes and tackled the opposition superbly all 90 minutes. So for me he deserves the man of the match this week. Shows how it doesn’t always just have to be the ones scoring the goals, as players like Kouyate are equally as important.
Next up is a potentially tricky trip to face another newly promoted club in Watford, who have probably been the best of the 3 since coming up. This is a game that we need to be winning if we plan to stay near the top 6 for another week, but so far we’ve failed to beat a promoted team. Hopefully we can continue our unbeaten run and maintain our fantastic away record so far.