Timo Werner’s first-half strike saw Chelsea take a small yet significant step in the race for Champions League football next season. The fourth-placed Blues eked out a narrow 1-0 win over their closest rivals West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday to consolidate their place in the top four.
Chelsea dominated the first half, limiting the hosts to just the odd counter-attack and set-piece. The Blues took a deserved lead as half-time approached when Werner coolly slotted home in the 43rd minute.
Thomas Tuchel's men then demonstrated their recently-acquired defensive resilience in the second half, seeing off a spirited West Ham charge. But their job was made easier after the hosts were reduced to ten men late on when Fabian Balbuena was sent off for going in rashly on Ben Chilwell.
This hard-fought win sees Chelsea open up a three-point gap in the league standings over their London rivals. The Hammers, meanwhile, have it all to do if they are to overhaul the Blues and finish in the top four this season.
On that note, let's have a look at the five major talking points from the game.
#1 Moyes vs Tuchel: A battle of the Premier League’s in-form managers
Although they are in different stages of their tenures, both David Moyes and Thomas Tuchel have earned plaudits for the way they have performed at the helm of affairs at their respective clubs this season.
Moyes’ men have exceeded expectations and find themselves in the top-four race in the final stages of the league campaign. Meanwhile, Tuchel has virtually transformed Chelsea after taking over midway through the season and could even lift his first trophy with the club soon.
Interestingly, ahead of their clash at the London Stadium, both Moyes and Tuchel seem to have independently arrived at a three-at-the-back formation as their preferred style of play, which set the game up as an intriguing tactical battle.
Furthermore, while only Manchester City have earned more points at home than West Ham this season, Chelsea boasted an unbeaten record away from home under Tuchel, which added another level of interest to the game.
#2 Timo Werner makes a timely goalscoring return for Chelsea
While he has been unable to hit the goalscoring heights he managed at RB Leipzig, Timo Werner, with his willing and intelligent running, has made a significant attacking contribution at Chelsea. That is possibly why the German continues to be named in the Blues’ starting lineup ahead of the likes of top-scorer Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud.
However, questions persisted over Werner’s ability to find the net consistently in his new surroundings even as Chelsea continued to churn out positive results over the course of the season.
As such, it would have been a huge relief for both Werner and his manager when the former finally managed to bag his first goal in 15 games for club and country. In the process, the Chelsea striker ended a goal drought that lasted over two months when he put his side in the lead towards the end of the first half.
While he spurned a glorious chance to double his side’s advantage in the second period, Werner will hope his goal would open the floodgates as he looks to end a difficult season with a flourish.