Chelsea eased to a 2-0 victory over London rivals West Ham United at Stamford Bridge to extend their lead at the top of the table, temporarily at least, to 6 points. Goals either side of half-time from John Terry and Diego Costa sealed the win to maintain the Blues’ 100% record at home this season.
Here are 5 observations from today’s game:
1) Could West Ham have done more?
The Hammers came into this game having won 13 points out of the last 15 available. Still, Sam Allardyce opted to go with a very defensive setup, and left key players like Diafra Sakho and Alex Song on the bench. In the first-half, West Ham were simply played off the park by Chelsea and were lucky to go into the break only trailing by one goal. In the second half though, they played a higher line and did cause the home side some problems. Even though there wasn’t too much of an end product to show for their positivity, it leaves us to wonder if the game could have turned out differently if the in-form visitors had taken the game to Chelsea.
2) Chelsea play like champions:
The first half today was one of the best halves of football Chelsea have played this season. That is saying something, seeing that they have put in some scintillating displays thus far. Even though they only scored one goal, some of the passing and movement was from a different level. West Ham simply had no answers to Eden Hazard, Willian, Oscar and Fabregas as they were carved open time and time again. Oscar and Costa missed good chances to score, but Terry took his to make sure that the pressure did pay off. This performance was every bit like the champions-elect that most people claim Chelsea to be this season. Even though there is a long way to go, there aren’t too many teams in the country that look capable of stopping Jose Mourinho’s side.
3) Professionalism of the highest order:
This was Chelsea’s third consecutive 2-0 win and it shows how professional the Blues have been at putting teams away lately. Defensively, they look very secure and even though West Ham had a few sighters late on today, Gary Cahill and John Terry were hardly troubled in general. They had a problem with breaking stubborn teams down last season, but that seems to be a thing of the past as Chelsea seem to have the key to every lock.
4) The magnificence of Eden Hazard:
Eden Hazard really stood out as a player today, and was a constant thorn in the West Ham backline. The ball seems glued to his feet when he is in possession, and his trickery and incisive play left several defenders on their backsides today. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself, but did assist the second goal for Diego Costa.
5) Chelsea’s striker problems are well and truly over:
The ghost of Fernando Torres at Stamford Bridge has well and truly been buried by Diego Costa. With 13 goals in his first 15 games, the Spaniard is now only 7 away from matching the tally Torres managed in three-and-a-half seasons. His off-the-ball movement was brilliant once again, and he set up the opener for John Terry by heading down Fabregas’ corner. His own strike, Chelsea’s second, was a thing of beauty. He received the ball from Hazard and after some twisting and turning, fired a low shot past Adrian into the far corner. He clearly exemplifies what Chelsea were missing in their title chase last year.