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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at the London Stadium

VAR denies Hammers goal as Blues drop lead to draw 1-1 at the London Stadium

By Paul Lagan at London Stadium

West Ham 1 v Chelsea 1

West Ham’s relegation threat eased a bit with a hard-fought point, at home in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

But in truth both sides needed all three points to alter their miserable season.

There was little in the way of quality, with the Hammers content to defended deep nd hope for a counter-attack or set-piece, while Chelsea looked bereft of any inspiration.

The visitors sporting an attacking line-up took the lead through Joao Felix but the Hammers fought back and Emerson took advantage of weak defending to slam home an equaliser.

VAR was involved in a couple of decisions - one which helped the Blues by overturning a Tomas Soucek header - deeming it offside.

Felix thought that he had opened his Chelsea account on nine minutes when he raced clear, latching into a Ruben Loftus-Cheek pass. He then dinked the ball over Lukasz Fabianski. The ball tapped off the far past and The Portuguese followed up to slam home.

But he was adjudged to be offside, much to the delight of the otherwise quiet West Ham fans.

Lucas Paqueta limped off on 14 minutes with an injury, he was replaced by Soucek.

But it only gave a brief respite from the pressure the Blues put on them, and on 17 minutes, Enzo clipped in the perfect defence-splitter and Felix was on hand to tap home a simple right-footed volley that sailed past the hapless Fabianski to give the visitors the lead.

Kai Havetez felt he had scored on 22 minutes when he got clear of the Hammers’ rearguard, but after rounding Fabianski and plonking the ball at the back of the net, he was adjuged by the linesman to be offside.

VAR intervened but opted not to change the decision.

Incredibly West Ham almost equalised on 25 minutes when Jarrod Bowen was allowed by Marc Cucurella to slide in a ball from the byline. Michail Antonio was on hand to flick the ball goal-bound from close range, but Kepa did well to react and parry the ball clear.

That gave the home side the bounce they needed and once again a static defence on the left allowed the ball to be clipped across goal, a knock on by Antionio to Emerson at the far post saw the ball hammered past Kepa to make the score 1-1.

Very little huff or puff went into the remaining minutes of the half.

Neither side made a change at the break.

Chelsea head coach made changes on 67 minutes, bringing in Hakim Ziyech,Ben Chilwell, and Mason Mount. Off went Cucurella, Noni Madueke and Mykhailo Mudryk.

Loftus-Cheek was then ushered off to be replaced by Conor Gallagher with 12 minutes left of the clock.

With the home side content to hold play up, disturb any rhythm Chelsea found themselves in , they always had a set piece to count on. And with eight minutes left on the clock a free-kick from the left was nodded on and substitute Tomas Soucek was on hand to nod home.

But VAR again intervened, checking for an offside, and after two minutes, VAR overturned the goal and it remained 1-1.

That let off gave the Blues added momentum, and it was they who looked more suited to finding a winner.

But they decided instead to take a point, something the home side were happy with too.

Teams: West Ham Fabianski, Antonio, Paqueta, Bowen, Ogbonna Benrahma, Kehrer, Aguerd, Emerson, Rice

Subs, Hegyi, Anyang, Johnson, Fornals, Lanzini, Downes, Ings, Soucek

Chelsea, Kepa, Badiashile, Enzo, Silva, Loftus-Cheek, Mudryk, James, Havertz, Madueke, Cucurella

Subs: Bettinelli, Chalobah, Mount, Chilwell, Ziyech, Gallagher, Forfana, Azpilicueta, Chukwuemeka

Referee Craig Pawson


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