Hammers get the Blues again
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 24 Nov 2013 14:21:00
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Saturday evenings game against Chelsea was the first of three consecutive London derbies for West Ham United and they didn't get off the best of starts as the Blues eased to a 3-0 victory at Upton Park.

Sam Allardyce made one change to the team that lost to Norwich City before the International break, as Razvan Rat picked up a hamstring injury while on duty with Romania, leaving Joey O'Brien to deputise.

Before the game kicked off there was the inevitable chant from the home fans about the blue flag and where the Chelsea fans could stick it when they arrived.

The visitors started the brighter of the two sides and went close on a few occasions without scoring, but on 19 minutes it was the Hammers who almost went in front. A great team move involving Guy Demel, Stewart Downing and club captain Kevin Nolan set up Joe Cole but his effort towards goal was well blocked.

Two minutes later, Chelsea were awarded a penalty after Demel had put goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen right in trouble as he played an awful pass back to him. In trying to retrieve the danger the Finn brought down Oscar and referee Chris Foy had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. As he very often does when he plays against his former club, Frank Lampard smashed the ball past Jaaskelainen and the hosts found themselves a goal down.

The home side never really recovered from that setback and conceded a second on 34 minutes, when Eden Hazard forced James Collins to lose possession. The Belgium International striker then passed to Oscar, who finished past Jaaskelainen with ease.

Not happy with the way the game was going, Big Sam made a double change on 40 minutes, replacing both Cole and Jack Collison with Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga. The crowd weren't happy with the decision but the manager felt he had to change something before the situation worsened.

The scoreline nearly did get worse for West Ham two minutes later, but thankfully for the home faithful Jaaskelainen saved Samuel Eto'o's curling shot.

The half came to a close and when the whistle blew the home fans let the West Ham players know exactly what they thought of their performance in the first 45 minutes.

The second half started and Chelsea went within inches of adding a fourth on 52 minutes, when a Lampard corner was headed down by Gary Cahill but fortunately for the East Londoners, Mark Noble cleared off the line.

On 64 minutes, West Ham won a freekick as Downing was upended as he drove towards the halfway line. Collins lifted the set-piece in and it droped nicely into the feet of Demel, who beat three defenders with some lovely skill before cutting the ball back for Maiga to shoot, but the Mali International's effort dribbled a couple of yards wide of the target.

Then the home crowd started a rendition of "we are West Ham's claret and Blue Army". This continued until the end of the game.

On 76 minutes, Maiga cleverly found Nolan in space but instead of giving possession back to the forward, he dwelled on the ball for too long.

The Hammers managed to hold onto possession and earn themselves a freekick for a foul on O'Brien. Before it could be taken though Big Sam made his final change as the skipper was replaced by Matt Jarvis with Noble taking the armband.

Chelsea finished their rivals off by scoring a third goal on 82 minutes, when Branislav Ivanović got in behind Demel and crossed for Lampard to beat Jaaskelainen again and make the points safe for the visitors.

Three minutes of stoppage time were added on and in the second of those, Michael Essien played in former Hammers hero Demba Ba but his effort was ruled out for offside and the home side survived.

The last kick of the game resulted in the hosts registering their first shot on target when O'Brien tested Cech but it didn't matter as West Ham fell to their second defeat in as many games.

The East Londoners now face a must win game on Saturday afternoon as Fulham are the next visitors to the Boleyn Ground.

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