An eleventh-hour screamer saw West Ham eke out a 3-2 win against league leaders Chelsea at the London Stadium on Saturday.
The match was vital for both sides. Chelsea’s top table position was in danger from Manchester City and Liverpool, who both won their games and now top the Blues.
Meanwhile their opponents, who hammered out a strong start to the season, had failed to win their last three matches, and saw their chances to play in the Champions League threatened by Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
West Ham ultimately put themselves on safer ground after they came back from a 2-1 deficit to win.
Jarrod Bowen, the man of the match, said: “That’s what we’re about as a team. The character, the belief. We hung in when it was difficult, and it’s always gonna be difficult… But we got the three points.”
Chelsea dominated the match with strong possession, but the West Ham defence put up a blockade in their box preventing any serious attempts for nearly 30 minutes.
But the Hammers did not seek to regain the ball, and this passiveness was punished by Chelsea. Tiago Silva was barely challenged as he put the Blues 1-0 up with a header off a corner. The ball bounced off his head, the pitch and goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański’s fingertips before finding its way into the net.
West Ham tried to respond with a fast play, but Vladimír Coufal saw his chance squandered by Chelsea’s Thiago Silva who tackled the ball away before Coufal could get a clean shot on goal.
Chelsea’s aggressive defending should have shut the game out, but a foul in the box from Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy led to a penalty. Manuel Lanzini took the shot and equalised.
Chelsea took the lead again 44 minutes in, when a fast series of passes broke the Hammers’ blockade. Hakim Ziyech crossed the ball to Mason Mount, who confidently delivered the goal and took Chelsea into half time with a 2-1 lead.
West Ham clawed the match back in the second half. At 56 minutes, the Hammers made a strong attack deep into Chelsea’s side. Despite heavy and fast defending from the Blues, West Ham managed to get the ball to Bowen who equalised with a powerful strike.
Chelsea tried hard to regain their lead with several promising shots, all of which were seen off by Fabiański. Despite Chelsea having 64 per cent of the game’s possession and seven shots on target, they couldn’t deliver.
West Ham, on the other hand, took full advantage of the rare occasions when they had the ball. A throw in at 87 minutes was passed to Arthur Masuaku who scored the winner from the edge of the box, leaving West Ham’s stadium celebrating with uproarious cheers and their customary bubble blowing.
The match proved West Ham’s chances of a Champions League spot have not totally faded away. Chelsea, on the other hand, now face an uphill battle to win the title race.