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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at the London Stadium

Hammers' gutsy togetherness sends moneybags Chelsea packing


West Ham United (1) 3 Aguerd 7, Antonio 53, Paqueta pen 90+5

Chelsea (1) 1 Chukweumeka 28



West Ham somehow found a way to win a game in which they conceded a penalty, were down to 10 men for the final 25 minutes and spent most of the game camped around their own penalty area with 25 per cent possession.


A wonder strike from Michail Antonio and a double assist from newcomer James Ward-Prowse also helped.


Welcome to the wonderful world of unpredictable football.


Chelsea expenditure may have gone through the stratosphere in recent times but they are still a work in progress and did not quite have the togetherness which got the Irons over the line.


There was tons of heart on display from David Moyes' side, who do not want another European adventure to cause them as much colatoral grief in the league as it did last year.


But this first win of the season will mean more to them than just three points from a first win of the season.


They needed to prove to themselves that they can stay strong as a unit without the departed Declan Rice.


They came through the test with flying colours.


If the Hammers were looking for the sort of start which might help them quickly forget the absence of Rice, it could hardly have been better.


Ward-Prowse swung in a corner from the right and Nayef Aguerd rose at the far post to nod down past Robert Sanchez.


But the early excitement gave way to a more subdued atmosphere as Chelsea began to monopolise the ball and camp in the Hammers' final third of the pitch.


The slow build-up of pressure eventually told when teenager Carney Chukwuemeka exchanged passes with the ever-dangerous Ben Chilwell before cutting inside onto his right peg and unleashing a shot into the far corner across Alphonse Areola for his first Premier League goal.


There was almost a reply from Lucas Paqueta - currently the subject of transfer interest from Man City and FA interest for alleged betting infractions - as the Brazilian turned inside the box to clip a low left-foot shot against the outside of a post.


But Chelsea's dominance should have seen them in front at the break after Tomas Soucek's outstretched leg ended Raheem Sterling's dart into the box.


As it was, Areola guessed correctly to save Enzo Fernandez's penalty, diving to his right to keep it out.


A brilliant run into the box by Sterling might also have brought reward but the cutback was just out of reach for Chukeumeka and Chilwell - less well placed - had his effort blocked.


Home fans must have been fearing the worst at the break but moods turn on goals, and a stupendous finish from Michail Antonio soon after the break changed the dynamics.


Ward-Prowse could claim a second assist in the game for his excellent prod into space but Antonio had much to do. His strength helped him past a challenge from Levi Colwill and his acceleration into space invited the prospect of a blast. Even then, it needed a perfect shot to beat Sanchez into the far bottom corner and the Hammers striker delivered.


It was never going to be that simple though, and a stretching Aguerd was given a red card on 67 minutes for upending Nicolas Jackson, having triggered his second yellow of the match.


But the Irons stayed strong and if anything looked better as the minutes ticked by. So much so that they managed to get up the pitch a few more times, and Paqueta crowned a memorable afternoon by putting away an injury-time penalty after Chelsea's record signing Moises Caicedo had tripped ex-Chelsea man Emerson in the box.


It was a truly outstanding way to kick-start the season for the Hammers. They don't get much better than wins like this.


Hammers: (4-2-3-1) Areola - Coufal, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson - Soucek, Ward-Prowse (Alvarez 81) - Bowen, Lucas Paqueta, Benrahma (Ogbonna 69) - Antonio (Fornals 76)


Blues: (3-4-2-1) Sanchez - Disasi, Thiago Silva, Colwill - Gusto (Burstow 83), Fernandez, Gallagher (Madueke 75), Chilwell (Caicedo 61) - Sterling, Chukweumeka (Mudryk h/t) - Jackson

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