Saturday, May 25, 2024

Chelsea 1-1 West Ham United: Substitute Hernández steals valuable point in Hammers fight for survival

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Javier Hernández scored a late equalising goal for West Ham United on Sunday evening as they drew 1-1 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Hammers were second best throughout the majority of the match and Antonio Conte’s Blues seized the lead before half-time as skipper César Azpilicueta, stabbed home in the 36th minute. David Moyes’ men though equalised through substitute Hernández with a well-taken strike from the edge of the penalty area to earn what looked like an unlikely point.

High octane Chelsea start

Chelsea started excellently on an emotional day at Stamford Bridge and could have led within the first five minutes but Hazard’s shot from the edge of the area bobbled just wide. Willian also showed twinkling feet just inside the area and aimed for the top corner but Aaron Creswell produced a fantastic block to deflect the ball away from goal.

The Blues did eventually have the ball in the net following good combination play between Morata and Hazard, with the former rolling the ball under Joe Hart. However, the goal was ruled out for offside.

The duo were the focus again soon after as Morata almost flicked Chelsea into a first-half advantage. Hazard raced to the by-line and cut-back to the Spaniard. The former Real Madrid man produced a clever back-heel that bobbled inches wide of the far post.

Poor defending costs the Hammers

West Ham, who struggled to contain Chelsea throughout the opening period, should have been behind going into the break as Hazard released Willian. Hart though produced a fantastic save to thwart the Brazilian.

Chelsea were not made to wait much longer though as Azpilicueta stabbed home from the resultant corner. Morata nodded down to his compatriot and with his second attempt, the defender nudged the ball into the bottom corner to notch his second Premier League goal of the season.

Champions continue to dominate but lack cutting edge

Antonio Conte’s men could well have doubled their advantage only seconds after half-time as Hazard smartly back-heeled to Willian. The Brazilian though was only able to fizz the ball just wide.

Morata manufactured the next opportunity to find the net as he escaped the attentions of Pablo Zabaleta from a corner. His free header though floated over the crossbar. The Spaniard did again find the net as he converted Willian’s low cross but yet again the linesman adjudged the striker to be offside and the advantage stayed at one.

Former West Ham loanee Victor Moses was afforded space in the penalty area and sent an effort curling towards the top corner. However, the ball went whistling just wide.

Hernández steers home to level for West Ham

Eventually the Blues were meant to play for their wastefulness by substitute, Hernández. Arnautovic had wriggled beyond the Chelsea defence and pulled back to the Mexican on the edge of the area. Steering a low shot into the bottom corner, the former Manchester United man equalised in emphatic fashion.

Antonio Conte attempted to regain the lead as he introduced Olivier Giroud and Pedro. It nearly paid off as the former’s dummy found Marcos Alonso, and the Spaniard sent a thunderous effort towards goal. Hart reacted well though to paw the ball away.

Another excellent save from Hart in the closing minutes kept the scores level as the striker leapt highest to meet Willian’s cross. The Hammers eventually held on and claimed what a precious draw from Stamford Bridge.

Final Thoughts

Before Hernández’s equaliser, West Ham looked unlikely to come away with anything but a defeat. Moyes’ men struggled to cope with the combination play of Hazard, Willian and Morata. It then looked ominous when Azpilicueta opened the scoring. However, Chelsea’s wastefulness was their own downfall as they spurned a clutch of chances to win the game.

The visitors must be praised for their character and they got back level thanks to tenacious play from Arnautovic and a clinical finish from Hernández. They were much-improved following the goal and may even have won the game. However, the point leaves West Ham 14th on 34 points, six points clear of relegation.

Meanwhile, it was another missed opportunity for the reigning champions and they now look highly unlikely to be in the Champions League next season. They now sit ten points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fifth.

Match Report

Chelsea: Courtois (7); Rüdiger (6), Cahill (6), Azpilicueta (7); Alonso (6), Fabregas (6), Kanté (7), Moses (6) (Pedro (N/A), 78′); Willian (7), Hazard (7), Morata (7) (Giroud (N/A), 78′).

West Ham United: Hart (7); Rice (6), Ogbonna (7), Cresswell (6) (Evra (6), 64′); Zabaleta (7), Kouyaté (7), Noble (6), Masuaku (7); Fernandes (6) (Hernández (7), 70′), Mario (7) (Cullen (N/A), 85′); Arnautovic (8).

Goals: Azpilicueta (36′), Hernández (73′)

Referee: Kevin Friend

Yellow Cards: Noble (45′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six 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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