Blues and Hammers fight out dour 0-0 draw at London Stadium
Andriy Yarmolenko will be having nightmares tonight as he missed a simple chance to secure all three points for West Ham but his second half, unchallenged header from close range went wide of goal, allowing a turgid derby to end 0-0 against Chelsea, who lost their 100 per cent winning record at the London Stadium this afternoon.
Chelsea will look to the late return from their trip to Greece on Thursday as the reason for the lack of inspiration and energy that had ben a feature of their five wins out of five league matches this season.
But in truth it was a lack of imagination and drive as much as tiredness that allowed relegation-threatened Hammers to secure a point.
The Blues best chance fell to substitute Alvaro Morata but he smacked the ball into goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski’s face.
As with so many games Chelsea have played this season, they started the match desperate to hold possession. This they duly achieved. The flip side is that if they don’t score or at least forgave a worthwhile chance, they are prone to losing concentration and belief, allowing the opposition to counter-attack.
West Ham had the best chance in the opening exchanges, from one such attack.
Thankfully Antonio Rudiger was switched on and managed to intercept the ball along his six-yard line and cleared.
He was also the fist Chelsea man to have a chance on goal - a long-range effort, that Lukasz Fabianski’s easily held on 11 minutes.
Eden Hazard tried a lo, left-footer from just inside the West Ham penalty area, again the former Arsenal stopper was equal to the task.
A wayward shot from Mark Noble on 21 minutes after a period of pressure from the home side, which saw successive corners, raised the decibels from the home fans.
Olivier Giroud failed to connect with the ball in what he hoped would be a spectacular volley on 24 minutes, but he hopelessly mistimed Jorginho’s pass and looked somewhat sheepishly for a penalty off Mike Dean. None as given.
West Ham should have scored on 29 minutes after excellent play by Declan Rice - his pass to Micail Antonio on the left saw the wide man arrow a fierce left-footer, Sadler for him it was well wide of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal.
Kepa produced a fine near-post save to thwart Antonio seconds later as the Hammers sensed weakness in the Chelsea rearguard.
Seconds before and N’Golo kante had a wonderful chance to nod the Blues into the lead after excellent play by Mateo Kovacic and William saw the France midfielder with a nodding header in the six-yard box - but he nodded wide.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Kante was the first player to enter Dean’s book for a clumsily challenge on Felipe Anderson on 49 minutes. Anderson received a yellow three minutes later for a could on Willian’s.
David Luiz missed a sitter on 55 minutes, slightly misjudging the flight of Willian’s corner, and failing to get proper connection on the ball and headed over from 10 yards.
Maurizio Sarri had seen enough of the turgid performance put in by his charges, and after 65 minutes Giroud was replaced by Alvaro Morata. Antonio was also replaced for West Ham, with Lucas Perez taking his place.
It took Morata one minute to force Fabianski’s into an automatic reaction save as the Spain striker tried to clip the ball over the goalkeeper but the ball smacked into his face instead.
Rudiger was replaced by Gary Cahill on 70 minutes as the centre-back headed straight down the tunnel, presumably injured.
Robert Snodgrass took the place of Felipe Anderson with 16 minutes left of the clock.
A 25-yard free-kick by Luiz, was on target, but Fabianski had time to dive to his left and sniffle the ball at his post.
The miss of the season befell Andria Yarmelenko on 78 minutes as a brilliant left wing cross by Snodgrass was met, unmarked by the Ukrainian but he somehow conspired to head wide of goal from six yards out.
Ross Barkley replaced ineffectual Kovacic a minute later as Sarri tried to inject some pace into the Chelsea attack.
Kante, again was the man at the end of a Chelsea attack, and the midfielder showed his attacking prowess by hacking a left-footer from a Willian cross into row Z of the Trevor Brooking Stand behind the goal.
Carlos Sanchez was West Ham’s final substitution, coming on for Mark Noble with four minutes to go.
Barkley had a fine curling effort tipped around the point on 90 minutes, but, in truth neither side deserved to win
Teams: Chelsea, Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Giroud, Azpilicueta, Luiz
Subs: Caballero, Fabregas, Barkley, Moses, Zappacosta, Cahill, Morata
West Ham: fabrianski, Baluena, Zabaleta, Anderson, Obiang, Noble, Yarmolenko, Diop, Masuaku, Antonio, Rice
Subs: Adrian, Cresswell, Snodgrass, Sanchez, Ogbonna, Fredericks, Perez
Referee: Mike Dean