Friday, June 22, 2018

West Ham United 1-0 Chelsea: Arnautovic strike sees off the champions

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Marko Arnautovic’s first West Ham goal was enough for the Hammers to beat Chelsea 1-0 at the London Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Austrian forward struck his maiden strike since his summer move from Stoke City in only the sixth minute of the game as David Moyes earned his first win in charge of West Ham United. Chelsea meanwhile struggled to have an impact on the game despite arriving in excellent form.

Arnautovic finally comes alive

Marko Arnautovic snatched the lead for the Hammers with only six minutes on the clock at the London Stadium. Following excellent build-up play between the former Stoke City man, Manuel Lanzini and Michael Antonio, the ball was thread through to the Austrian who was breaking through on goal. He then shimmied past a couple of Chelsea challenges and finished low past Thibaut Courtois to notch his first West Ham goal.

It took Chelsea some time to settle into the game but when they did, there were appeals for a penalty. Alvaro Morata attempted to move the Blues into the penalty area but fell to floor following a challenge from Winston Reid. Referee Anthony Taylor though waved away claims for a spot-kick.

Champions build pressure before the break

Antonio Conte’s men continued to probe and were unlucky to see Eden Hazard’s powerful drive evade a touch from a single Chelsea body. West Ham continued to be the biggest threat as Andreas Christensen blocked another goal-bound shot from Arnautovic. Adrian, who continued in goal in place of Joe Hart, then had to be alert to keep out efforts from N’Golo Kante and Davide Zappacosta as Chelsea looked to get level before the break.

Chelsea hitman Morata then had a glorious chance to equalise as he met an excellent cross from Zappacosta. The striker’s header though drifted wide under pressure from Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna. Tiemoue Bakayoko then saw his low shot fly just wide of the upright too as Chelsea looked to equalise before half-time.

Conte shuffles his pack

Chelsea boss Conte attempted to force the issue and made a change at the break as he introduced Pedro for Bakayoko. Following half-time however, it was once again West Ham who started the better and it was the referee who was at the centre of proceedings yet again. Arnautovic, a constant threat, tore into the box again and attempted to jink past Christensen, with the ball striking the arm of the Chelsea man. The referee again though did not award a penalty.

Another substitution came soon after as Victor Moses was brought on in the place of Marcos Alonso. The final alteration then came with Willian the final roll of the dice for the Italian.

The changes then nearly paid off as Azpilicueta thundered towards goal before a wicked deflection carried the ball to Morata only yards from goal. Adrian though did well to collect just before the ex-Real Madrid could finish.

Morata misses in the closing minutes

Heading into the closing stages at the London Stadium and with Chelsea building pressure, it looked destined that they would equalise. This looked even more likely as Morata was played through one-on-one by Kante. The striker bore down on goal from inside the box but powered his effort wide to the disbelief of himself and Conte.

Eden Hazard then tried his luck from the edge of the box but his looping strike whistled just over the crossbar. Chelsea continued to knock on the door but it just appeared an off day for the champions and West Ham celebrated their first league win since October at the final whistle.

Final Thoughts

It seems quite an obvious thought that West Ham will be delighted with the victory over their London rivals. David Moyes’ Hammers were excellent all afternoon and could have even stretched their slender advantage. Arnautovic’s strike early in the day proved to be more than enough to overcome the champions. The Austrian was the clear man-of-the-match.

The Hammers also showed plenty of character to defend well and keep hold of what is surely set to be a crucial victory. They rise to 18th in the Premier League ahead of the rest of the weekend’s games.

Chelsea meanwhile never really recovered from West Ham’s opening goal, hence all of the early changes from Antonio Conte. Whilst they did dominate the ball, the champions really did not test Adrian enough. The Blues remain in third in the Premier League table.

Match Report

West Ham United: Adrian (7); Cresswell (6), Ogbonna (7), Reid (7); Masuaku (6), Noble (7), Obiang (7), Zabaleta (7); Lanzini (7), Arnautovic (8) (Sakho (5), 69′), Antonio (7) (Ayew (N/A), 79′).

Chelsea: Courtois (6); Cahill (6), Christensen (6), Azpilicueta (6); Zappacosta (6) (Willian (5), 64′), Fabregas (6), Kante (6), Bakayoko (5) (Pedro (6), 45′), Alonso (6) (Moses (5), 55′); Hazard (6), Morata (6).

Goals: Arnautovic (6′),

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Yellow Cards: Arnautovic (7′), Alonso (18′), Adrian (58′), Reid (67′), Cresswell (68′), Obiang (70′), Masuaku (87′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is currently a second-year football journalism student at the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately four years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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