Unbeaten Run Ends at the Bridge
By Tom Dowsett
Friday 26 Dec 2014 17:58:00
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West Ham United lost their first game in five after they were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Sam Allardyce made three changes from the team that beat Leicester City at home last Saturday. Diafra Sakho and Alex Song dropped to the bench to make way for the returning Mark Noble and Enner Valencia, whilst James Tomkins missed out through injury and was replaced by James Collins.

Chelsea were on the front foot from the start and had a great chance to go ahead after just four minutes when Carl Jenkinson failed to cut out a ball to Willian, whose cross fell invitingly to Oscar who should buried it but instead, blasted his effort wide.

Chelsea continued to dominate but on 19 minutes Noble won a freekick within range for the Hammers, which Valencia wasted as his effort passed harmlessly over the bar.

The home side were really in control and Eden Hazard was causing all sorts of problems for the Hammers’ defence. On 20 minutes Gary Cahill forced a good save from Adrian following a corner from the right.

Chelsea maintained their dominance and on 31 minutes they finally managed to break the deadlock when John Terry finished Diego Costa’s flick-on from Cesc Fabregas’ corner.

The home side continued to crank up the pressure and the Hammers were clearly hanging on for half time. As the half  entered the one minute of added time, there were appeals for a penalty as Branislav Ivanovic went down in the box. West Ham were incensed, as they felt he had dived and although referee Michael Oliver agreed, he kept his cards in his pocket. 

Despite their dominance, the hosts were only one goal in front as the half-time whistle blew.

West Ham started the second half brightly and enjoyed some early pressure. However, Stewart Downing and Kevin Nolan were struggling to exert any authority in midfield and slowly but surely Chelsea began to regain control of the game.

On 59 minutes Big Sam made a double change, bringing on the two rested players to replace Noble and Andy Carroll.

Three minutes later, Chelsea grabbed a second as Cheikou Kouyate lost control of the ball trying to break forward and Costa turned inside the box to slot the ball past Adrian. 

On 67 minutes Oscar nearly knocked in a third as his accurate freekick was superbly tipped over by Adrian.

West Ham changed personnel again on 74 minutes as Morgan Amalfitano replaced the unusually out of sorts Downing.

The change did have some effect, as the Irons enjoyed their most menacing period of the game. This culminated with Amalfitano skipping into the area with just three minutes of normal time to play and hitting the post, with Thibaut Courtois well beaten.

Three minutes of stoppage time were signalled and West Ham finished strongly but were unable to register an away goal for the first time this season. 

The Hammers came away from West London pointless and slip to fifth in the table.

Next up is another London derby as Arsenal provide the next tough test at Upton Park on Sunday afternoon.


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