Blues deliver a Hammer Blow
Written By: Robert Halter
Both West Ham United and Chelsea had different agendas going into the early evening London derby at the Boleyn Ground in November, with the Blues looking to keep their title hopes alive, while the Hammers were trying to avoid slipping into the relegation zone but after a cautious start to the match, on twenty one minutes, a cardinal sin by West Ham proved costly, after Guy Demel’s tame back pass caused havoc as Jussi Jaaskelainen clattered into Oscar for a stone wall Blues penalty which Frank Lampard thumped into the back of the net against his former club. On just under the half hour mark, Lampard put a header wide of the near post after a pin point accurate cross from Eden Hazard down the right flank. Hazard then picked out Oscar for Chelsea’s second goal of the game when Oscar split open the Hammers defence before firing low post Jaaskelainen’s despairing dive in the thirty fourth minute. The Hammers made a double change by taking off Joe Cole and Jack Collison and bringing on Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga. In the forty first minute, a one touch pass from Cesar Azpilicueta was met by a curling strike from Samuel Eto’o that was turned over the bar from Jaaskelainen with the outstretched palm of his hand. Five minutes into the second half, the Blues were close to extending their lead when from an in swinging corner by Lampard, a well connected header from Gary Cahill, took a goal line clearance from Mark Noble to save the Hammers conceding a third. Soon afterwards, Oscar forced a shot wide after Azpilicueta’s ball in, as Oscar let the Irons off the hook by missing a gilt edge chance. A long range curler by Eto’o went close to deceiving Jaaskelainen in the sixty second minute, after Lampard had paved the way for Eto’o to strike. Two minutes later, the Claret and Blue threatened for the first time, when Demel cut inside from the right by line to tee up Maiga but his miss hit daisy cutter went agonisingly wide. In a final Hammers change, Matt Jarvis replaced Kevin Nolan. The Blues then made their first substitution by brining on Demba Ba for Eto’o. But it was Lampard who wrapped the game up for Chelsea with an unstoppable shot as eight minutes of normal time remained, after Hazard’s effort cannoned off Joey O’ Brien and through to Lampard, who turned the ball home. Chelsea took off Oscar and Andre Schurrle appeared before a final Blues change of Michael Essien for Hazard. On eighty five minutes, Schurrle combined with Essien, whose low strike was smothered by Jaaskelainen. Although Ba had a goal ruled out in stoppage time for offside, after being played in by Essien, before finally, Petr Cech was tested for the first time in the Blues goal, as he punched away the ball from O’ Brien’s header, after a cross had been whipped in from Matt Jarvis. The result left Chelsea third place in the table and on the same points with Liverpool, while West Ham United were rooted just above the bottom three on the same points as Fulham.