Football NewsChelsea Stunned by West Ham as they Throw Away the Lead Twice
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West Ham came from behind twice to defeat Chelsea in an all-London show as Arthur Masuaka’s late freak goal defeated Mendy to seal the victory.

West Ham’s 3-2 win against Chelsea was a victory that marked out the side’s credentials. Going into Christmas, struggling with injuries as they are, West Ham looks a proper top-four team.

And, other than last season under Moyes, they haven’t been this dangerous since the famous 1985-86 season. West Ham looks like a serious football club.

Under par in the first half, with a few tactical adjustments, and a couple of superb performances from Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio in the second half, the European Champions were wilting. A well-drilled back three and an intelligent plan was enough to undo them.

Thiago Silva was superb in the first half. He headed Chelsea ahead from Mason Mount’s corner on 29 minutes when West Ham’s marking went AWOL. A minute later he cleared off the line when Vladimir Coufal’s volley on the bounce beat Mendy. At that stage, Chelsea looked in control.

And by far they scored the best goal of the afternoon for 2-1, just before halftime. Tomas Soucek was muscled off the ball by Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Striding forwards – the space he was afforded was scandalous, from West Ham’s point of view – he released Hakim Ziyech. 

From there, the football was sublime. First Ziyech’s floated cross, which was delightful, and then Mount’s stunning first-time volley. Baby-faced Mount had the picture of innocence but enjoyed a celebration in front of the West Ham fans, tongue out and ears cupped. He might not have tried that in the old days in front of the Chicken Run.

But prior to that, the capacity for Chelsea to unravel had been clear. They were dominating possession, yet without many incisions, when, on 38 minutes, Bowen did what he had been threatening all half and embarrassed Mendy. 

West Ham suspected weakness in Chelsea’s goalkeeper’s distribution. Therefore, Bowen wouldn’t leave him alone. A slightly under-hit pass from Jorginho and a second of hesitancy was Bowen’s cue to lob the goalkeeper. Even so, Bowen was facing away from goal and there was no need for Mendy to panic, dive in and concede a penalty. Manuel Lanzini nailed the spot-kick for 1-1.

Half time came and West Ham emerged the stronger. The back three remained but Bowen pushed on a little higher and both he and Antonio pressed a lot harder. On the 56th minute, Soucek’s searching pass allowed them to find Antonio.

Chelsea failed to clear the header and Coufal teemed up Bowen, who shot early through Andreas Christensen’s legs and beat Mendy from the edge of the box for 2-2.

West Ham got lucky. But only because Antonio was furiously closing down the ball to force a throw-in. And only because Masuaka was alert enough to take it quickly and Antonio keen enough to make a run to stretch Chelsea’s defense and lay it back to Masuaka. It is true that Masuaka was fortunate in that his sweeping cross deceived Mendy and the ripple of net surprised him as much as the goalkeeper. ‘Was it a cross or was it shot’ Masuaka tweeted later.