There was a shock victory at the London Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening as West Ham United secured a 3-2 win over Chelsea in a Premier League London derby.
Chelsea had won each of their first three matches post-lockdown, with consecutive league victories over Aston Villa and Manchester City followed by progress into the FA Cup semifinal at the expense of Leicester City. True to form, they went ahead against West Ham when Willian converted from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute following a clumsy challenge on Christian Pulisic by Issa Diop.
The hosts initially thought they had taken the lead when Tomas Soucek bundled in a corner from close range but the goal was chalked off by referee Martin Atkinson after a lengthy consultation with VAR. It was deemed that Antonio had been offside in the buildup to the goal.
However, the Serbia international got his goal just before half-time, opening his West Ham account with a well-timed header to level matters. The goal was the first by the Hammers since a 3-1 victory over Southampton over four months ago.
The second half began with West Ham on the front foot and Antonio showed great tenacity to put the ball in the back of the net despite being under pressure from the Chelsea defence.
Frank Lampard made a raft of changes in a bid to inject some bite into the Chelsea attack after which Willian completed his brace with a well-taken freekick in the 72nd minute. With time running out, Andriy Yarmolenko stepped off the bench to gift West Ham all three points and their first league double over the Blues since 2003.
Here, we shall be highlighting five things learnt from the highly entertaining fixture.
#5 Chelsea sample new home kit
Earlier in the day, social media was awash with images of Chelsea's jersey for next season, with both male and female players sampling the jersey.
The new jersey has a herringbone-knit pattern which is inspired by the traditional craft of London tailoring and is sponsored by British Telecommunications Company, Three UK.
It was, however, not a happy unveiling for the club as West Ham put in a gritty display to spoil the occasion for Chelsea.
#4 Two steps forward, one step back for Chelsea
As already touched upon, Chelsea were very convincing in their victories over Manchester City and Leicester City in the space of four days, with both sides occupying two of the top three spots in the Premier League.
With the Foxes having faltered in their 2-1 defeat to Everton, Chelsea had an opportunity to climb up to third position in a tight contest for the last two spots in the top four. The fact that they were facing a West Ham side who were battling relegation and were winless in their last three games would have given the Blues cause for optimism.
However, that was not to be the case and in many ways, this has been the story of Chelsea's season thus far. They have lacked the consistency to truly cement their place in the upper echelons of the league.
This defeat means Chelsea have dropped 18 points from winning positions this season, only West Ham (22) and Aston Villa (19) have dropped more. It was also their 10th league defeat of the season. Only in the 2015-16 season have they lost more (12) in the Roman Abramovich era and fans of the club would hope this inconsistency does not cost them a place in their quest for a top-four finish.
#3 West Ham take a huge step towards ensuring their survival
With just six rounds of matches left in the Premier League this season, there are already a few established positions. Liverpool became champions for the first time in three decades in record-breaking fashion while Manchester City are all but guaranteed to finish as the runners-up.
The rest of the top four would be a race to the finish, with no fewer than four clubs engaged in a battle for the last two spots, while other clubs like Everton, Newcastle United and Burnley are assured of mid-table finishes.
Further down the table, things are looking gloomy for Norwich City, with the Canaries all but guaranteed to return to the Championship after just one season back in the top-flight.
Coming into this fixture, West Ham were separated from the bottom three by just goal difference but with this victory, they climbed up to 16th on the table, three points clear off relegation and David Moyes would hope to build on this when they trade tackles with fellow relegation candidates Norwich City on Saturday.
#2 Willian and Pulisic were the brightest attacking sparks for Chelsea
Amidst a bunch of underperforming Chelsea attackers, two-goal hero Willian and Christian Pulisic were the only attackers in blue who discharged their duties with distinction against their city rivals.
The American has been one of the best players post-lockdown as he took massive advantage of his return to action since suffering a long-term injury in January to score the equaliser from the bench in Chelsea's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.
Three days later, he was at it again and scored a wonderful solo effort to condemn Manchester City to defeat. He was once again lively on Wednesday night, putting the West Ham defence on the backfoot before winning a penalty after his quick feet led to Diop fouling him in the area.
The resultant penalty was converted by Willian for his second goal since the resumption. Later in the game, he curled an expertly taken free-kick past the dive of Fabianksy to level matters in the 70th minute. His goals made him enter the record books as the first player in history to score a Premier League goal in all 12 months of a calendar year.
Both men's heroics were, however, not enough for Chelsea to get anything from the game.
#1 Tammy Abraham yet to hit full fitness
After a bright start to life in the Premier League as the leading striker for his boyhood club Chelsea, Tammy Abraham hit a snag when he suffered an injury in February and consequently lost his spot in the starting lineup to Olivier Giroud.
This remained the status quo upon the resumption of the Premier League but a bright cameo against Manchester City convinced Frank Lampard to start the England international against West Ham.
He, however, failed to make the most of his opportunity and was on the peripheries for most of the match until his 63rd-minute substitution for Giroud.Published 02 Jul 2020, 08:18 IST