West Ham grab vital win over high-flying Chelsea in London derby showdown
PUBLISHED: 14:37 09 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:37 09 December 2017
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The Hammers gave boss David Moyes his first win at West Ham as Marko Arnautovic proves the difference between the teams
West Ham United 1 Chelsea 0
Enthused, energetic and full of endeavour, the hard-working Hammers finally ended their bleak eight-match win-less run with richly-deserved victory over the beaten Blues.
Record-signing Marco Arnautović could not have chosen a better moment to score his first goal for the club and his seventh-minute strike also gave manager David Moyes his first win since stepping into the Hammers hot seat.
West Ham may have looked more resilient at Manchester City last weekend but they had still left the Etihad Stadium pointless and that meant Moyes found himself kicking-off his 41st consecutive Premier League game in the dreaded drop-zone.
Following that 1-2 defeat at the hands of the runaway leaders, the Hammers boss made a trio of changes as Arnautović, Winston Reid and skipper Mark Noble returned in place of the injured Cheikhou Kouyaté (hamstring) plus substitutes Declan Rice and Edimilson Fernandes. That saw Adrián keep the gloves at the expense of Joe Hart, who found himself on the bench alongside fit-again Javier Hernández.
And it was soon a case of all the sevens as the recalled Arnautović quickly repaid his manager’s faith with an early opener that was to prove the winner.
Indeed, on seven minutes, the Hammers No. 7 collected from Michail Antonio and played a neat one-two with Manuel Lanzini on the edge of the Chelsea area, before advancing into the box and curling a low 12-yarder around the lunging César Azpilicueta and the outstretched right-hand of the groping Thibault Courtois.
The Austrian’s joy at finally opening his claret and blue account following that £24m summer move from Stoke City saw him hurdle the barriers towards the ecstatic East End fans at the inevitable expense of a booking but that was a small price to pay four months into the season.
Antonio Conté’s men had arrived at the London Stadium in third spot – 16 places and 22 points above the Hammers – and following Tuesday evening’s Champions League draw against Atlético Madrid, the Blues boss made just one switch as Marcos Alonso replaced former Hammers loan-signing Victor Moses, who dropped to the bench.
An annoying and awkward Alonso continually tested referee Anthony Taylor’s patience before collecting a 17th-minute booking for charging into Adrián and, shortly afterwards, Eden Hazard posed Chelsea’s first threat of the early afternoon with an angled shot that flew beyond the far post.
As the half-hour mark approached, though, the hardworking Hammers looked well worth their lead as they showed effort and energy levels not seen in these parts for many months.
N’Golo Kanté curled a low 15-yarder towards the bottom right-hand corner, where Adrián brilliantly palmed the ball aside for the first corner of the game and, shortly afterwards, the Spaniard also beat out an 18-yard sizzler from compatriot Cesc Fàbregas as the visitors finally got into their stride.
Álvaro Morata also hooked over the top, while at the other end, marauding Arthur Masuaku sent a low 25-yarder wide, before Tiémoué Bakayoko saw another long-ranger deflected wide for a corner.
That was to prove Bakayoko’s one and only contribution of the opening half and the £40million Frenchman was replaced by Pedro at the interval and, just after the restart Moses also stepped from the dug-out as Alonso retired, too.
With West Ham now restricted to the counter-attack, the advancing Arnautović was denied by a marginal offside flag and then the apoplectic Austrian was denied a penalty after Andreas appeared to handle his attempted flick.
At the other end, Christensen sent an angled 18-yarder agonisingly beyond the far post, while Adrián was cautioned for time-wasting as he dallied over the consequent goal-kick and both Reid and Aaron Cresswell then joined him in the book for illegal challenges on Morata and recently-arrived substitute, Willian.
With 20 minutes remaining, Diafra Sakho replaced Arnautović, who departed to rapturous applause ahead of Pedro Obiang becoming the fifth Hammer to be booked for chopping Kanté as Moyes’ men desperately tried to repel the rising Chelsea tide.
As the clock ticked down, Morata sent a 15-yarder steaming through the cold Stratford air and just a whisker wide, while Hazard also clipped over from similar range but there was no way that West Ham were going to surrender their precious lead and referee Taylor’s whistle finally signalled the end of the barren eight match win-less run.
HAMMERS: Adrián, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Reid, Masuaku, Obiang, Noble, Arnautović (Sakho 69), Lanzini, Antonio (Ayew 78). Unused subs: Hart, Carroll, Hernández, Fernandes, Rice.
BLUES: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Alonso (Moses 54), Cahill, Christensen, Kanté, Zappacosta (Willian 64), Bakayoko (Pedro h/t), Fàbregas, Hazard, Morata. Unused subs: Caballero, Rüdiger, Batshuayi, Ampadu.
Booked: Arnautović (7), Alonso (17), Adrián (57), Reid (66), Cresswell (67), Obiang (70), Masuaku (87).
Referee: Anthony Taylor.