Chelsea’s seven-match unbeaten run ended on Saturday at the London Stadium with 1-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham United. Marko Arnautovic’s 6th minute goal proved the difference, and David Moyes collected his first big victory since taking over at West Ham.
Chelsea, for their part, were completely listless. This might have been the worst performance this season for Antonio Conte’s men. Even in defeat against Crystal Palace, Chelsea looked to have some spark. On this occasion, there was none.
By contrast, West Ham were up for this from minute one. Despite losing to Manchester City at the Etihad last week, the Hammers showed a lot of character in a 2-1 defeat that required a late strike from David Silva.
As soon as the whistle blew for kickoff, West Ham were determined to press Chelsea and make it uncomfortable for them. It worked a treat. Chelsea were unable to settle and West Ham had the start they wanted.
That start became the perfect one on six minutes when Arnautovic played a one-two with Manuel Lanzini to get around Andreas Christensen and Arnautovic hammered a low shot to beat Thibault Courtois at the far post.
Christensen had his worst performance to date and was almost caught out by Arnautovic again when Arnautovic outmuscled him to control a hopeful long ball from Aaron Cresswell, but Arnautovic had little support and had his shot blocked by a crowd of Chelsea defenders.
Chelsea had their own opportunities, but their play lacked sharpness. Alvaro Morata had a penalty shout just minutes after the West Ham goal when Winston Reid pulled Morata’s shirt on the blindside of the ref, but no penalty was given.
Cesar Azpilicueta’s crossing from deep has been dangerous all season, and his whipped cross for Morata was headed up in the air by Angelo Ogbonna and as it dropped out of the sky, Eden Hazard struck a volley that bobbled wide.
Chelsea began to dominate possession as West Ham began to drop deeper and deeper, but too often, the final ball failed to materialise and Chelsea’s speed of passing looked slow.
In the second half, Christensen might count himself lucky to not concede a penalty when Arnautovic’s flick struck the outstretched hand of Christensen, but the referee remained unmoved.
Antonio Conte was clearly not happy with his side’s performances, and Pedro, Victor Moses, and Willian all three were introduced in order to find a way through the West Ham defence, but Chelsea still seemed to be far short of their best.
On 83 minutes, Chelsea finally found a way through the West Ham defence when N’Golo Kante found a slide-rule pass that beat the West Ham defensive line, but Alvaro Morata’s blasted his shot wide after a clever turn to free himself.
Just a minute later, Kante fed Morata, and the Spaniard was able to lay off a pass for Eden Hazard in space, but the Belgian fired the ball way over the bar.
Those two late chances summed up Chelsea’s performance, and they fully deserved their defeat on the day.