Chelsea - West Ham review: Lampard and Hazard help Blues past Hammers
It was finesse against strength, rich against the not-so-rich, West End versus the East End. It, of course, was Chelsea hosting West Ham.
The first half was a reflection of the team’s values. Chelsea were quick and slick, while West Ham on the other hand were slower, more physical and more direct. Rafael Benitez started without Terry, though this match was a perfect fit for him. With aerial threat the most prominent one, Terry should have started. As it turned out, Luiz looked uncomfortable for most of the game.
The West Ham fans were silenced when Hazard’s shot was blocked off, as it came back to him and he chipped in an exquisite ball for Lampard who headed it home.
Carroll should have been awarded a goal, but a non-existent foul on Luiz chalked it off. Chelsea were unable to deal with long balls all through the 1st half, and twice were shots blocked off due to the defenders’ commitment. Mata meanwhile just curled a ball wide after a Luiz layoff. In the same minute, Luiz almost scored with Zidane-ish kick. It was also a mark of Luiz’s ineptitude that Lampard was marking Carroll on set pieces towards the end of the first half. Ba made good runs, but seemed to be suffering from the Torres syndrome.
Chelsea were dominant throughout the second half. Jussi was brilliant all through the game, as he made great saves, especially one from a strike that bounced off the turf and needed him to re-adjust. Hazard got Chelsea’s second after a chipped ball by Mata. He received it, blitzed past two men and finished perfectly. Lampard uncharacteristically missed two good chances, the second his bread and butter goal at the end of a typical run from him. By now, Mata and Hazard were running the match, with Hazard at his best while taking men on, and getting his shots off.
Chelsea man of the match – Eden Hazard. A goal, an assist, a dozen darting runs, and much more. A perfect day for him.
West Ham man of the match – Andy Carroll – Had a good match, and won every ball that came his way. He harried Luiz and Cahill a lot, and should have had a goal. He could have been dangerous with better service.