Match Report: West Ham 1 – Chelsea 3
Our 100% start to the new season continued against rock-bottom West Ham at Upton Park.
Two headers from Michael Essien who was awesome throughout and a rather bizarre goal from Salomon Kalou with a little bit of help from Robert Green (cough cough!) kept us top of the table.
Scott Parker became the first player to score against us this season but his late effort was the only consolation for the home side.
Our victory will undoubtedly pile more pressure on Avram Grant, whose side remain rooted to the foot of the table without a single point from their opening four games and having conceded 12 goals. In contrast, we have now scored 17 and conceded just once.
Our domination of this game began as early as 1min 39 secs. In his first start for Chelsea Ramires won a corner and Essien rose above two defenders to head home Didier Drogba’s cross.
West Ham almost equalised moments later when new signing Victor Obinna sent a close-range effort straight at Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, but nothing as straightforward as that was going to beat him.
In the 17th minute we went 2-0 up when Robert Green spilled a 30-yard Drogba free-kick. Defender Matthew Upson tried to clear the loose ball but it cannoned back off Kalou and over the head of the stricken West Ham goalkeeper.
Looking back at the replay it will be another one that he will be keen to forget.
Our Chelsea support continued to rub further salt in the wound by reminding him of South Africa with ironic chants of “England’s number one, England’s, England’s number one!!”
You could see the embarrassment etched all over his face even from the other end of Upton Park.
Salomon went close to grabbing his second in the 21st minute but his shot was deflected around the post, much to the relief of the grounded Green.
Another corner from Drogba caused panic in the West Ham defence and the ball fell to John Terry, but it was collected easily.
West Ham might have pulled one back in the 27th minute but the unmarked Obinna put his volley wide from eight yards. The striker then sent a curling shot just wide of the target.
We almost extended our lead when another Drogba corner fell to Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel.
His rising drive from 20-yards slammed against the angle of Green’s left upright and the crossbar.
There was a bit of a scare for us when JT went down under a heavy challenge from Carlton Cole, but he continued after lengthy treatment – much to the disappointment of the West Ham fans who barracked him throughout most of the game.
JT thank goodness is made of tough stuff and we of course responded with our now familiar “Double, double, double” chant.
Towards the end of the first half, West Ham began to get into their stride a little and In the 43rd minute, Cech had to punch away a cross-shot from Ilunga as West Ham looked in vain for a way back into the game.
They almost succeeded in stoppage time when Carlton Cole thought he had scored, but the effort was ruled offside.
During half time as the Chelsea subs warmed up in front of us, we sang their names in turn and they responded appropriately, Florent Malouda with a little jig and arm jerking and Alex with nods and waves.
Graeme remarked to me how relaxed he felt everyone was looking.
After half time, West Ham to their credit started to get into gear, while we seemed to take our foot of the pedal somewhat. Kieron Dyer, on at half-time for Luis Boa Morte, almost broke through with a clever run into the six-yard box.
I kept feeling that a third would surely kill the game off and we came close on 60 minutes when Kalou collected a pass from Didi only to send his curling shot inches wide of Green’s right-hand post.
A cross from Obinna three minutes later found only the hands of Cech, much to the growing frustration of the home fans.
Mark Noble then sent a long-range effort just wide of our Chelsea keeper’s right-hand post but the home side still lacked the killer touch.
3-0 finally came in the 81st minute when Essien headed home Paulo Ferreira’s brilliant cross but moments later we conceded our first goal of the season when Petr punched out Mark Noble’s corner, the ball dropped to Parker and the West Ham captain lobbed it back over Cech with a cushioned volley. He hoofed the ball out of the goal, clearly upset with himself by the mistake of being so far off his line.
West Ham substitute Frederic Piquionne wasted a great chance to reduce the arrears still further when he headed against the bar from just two yards just before the final whistle.
We now turn our attention to Zilina in the Champions League. Frank has started training and hopes to be involved, but it’s been reported today that JT may not be involved as he bruised his ribs in the clash with Carlton Cole and had to be replaced near the end of the game.
But knowing JT, well we’ll see about that!
Graeme’s chant of the game from the Chelsea end:-
“We want you to stay, we want you to staaaaaaaaay, Avram Grant, we want you to stay!!”
Gill Reeves – CSG Disabled Rep