Chelsea avenge Hammers defeat
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea looked to avenge a 3-1 defeat at the Boleyn Ground back in December as West Ham United were the visitors for a Sunday clash at Stamford Bridge in mid March. In eighty seven league meetings both the Blues and Hammers were evenly split with thirty five victories apiece. Chelsea captain Frank Lampard a long with striker Demba Ba faced their former club while ex Blues forward Carlton Cole was left on the Hammers bench as Andy Carroll was put up front. On six minutes, Ba spurned an opportunity to open the scoring after being set free by Lampard. The Blues could have paid the penalty for the miss a minute later as James Collins thrashed a long range volley over the upright. But it was the Blues that struck first on nineteen minutes after a fierce strike by Eden Hazard could only be pushed out by Jussi Jaaskelainen and as Victor Moses hit the rebound against Collins, the ball was played back in by Hazard for Lampard to notch up his two hundredth goal for Chelsea with a firm header. The Hammers had a goal ruled out three minutes later as despite finding the back of the net, Carroll had pushed David Luiz in the back during the process of scoring. On twenty seven minutes following a foul by Mohamed Diame on Lampard, it took a finger tips save by Jaaskelainen to keep out Luiz’s low free kick. In the thirty sixth minute, a well placed cross by Cesar Azpilicueta was turned wide of the far post by Moses. This was followed up a minute later by a well worked move between Luiz and Hazard that ended with Mata curling the ball wide. Another chance fell to the Blues moments later after Guy Demel fouled Hazard and after Collins failed to clear Mata’s free kick, Luiz smashed a volley wide from distance. It took the feet of Jaaskelainen to stop Ba’s shot after he had been put clean through by Moses in the forty first minute. Again Ba failed to find the right connection, after Moses found space two minutes from normal time in the first half. The Hammers responded in added time as Ricardo Vaz Te struck a shot into Petr Cech’s body. It took just five minutes into the second half for the Blues to double their advantage as Mata played the ball onto Hazard which was finished off with a firm strike into the right side of the net as Mata had found a way past Irons captain Winston Reid before beating Jaaskelainen. It took a strong stop by Jaaskelainen to prevent Mata adding a third on fifty two minutes. On seventy five minutes, Jaaskelainen was called into action to deflect away a shot by Hazard in the box. Carlton Cole made a brief appearance against his former club with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining but he was unable to add the finishing touch to a Matthew Jarvis cross in the eighty third minute. Five minutes later, a one handed save by Jaaskelainen kept out a well struck effort from Hazard, after Lampard had put the pass through. It was too late for the Hammers as Carroll headed over a Jarvis corner near the end. The victory put Chelsea in third spot a point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who lost 1-0 at home to Fulham in the day’s earlier kick off.