Another game week and another comeback from the opposing team.
Stamford Bridge celebrated the remarkable person that was Ray Wilkins yesterday on what was an emotional day for everyone who followed Chelsea Football Club.
The game in itself was in keeping with Chelsea’s form in 2018. Personally I feel that Conte got the lineup wrong, Barkley and Emerson should have played in place of Fabregas and Moses. Never the less the players showed that they were ready to fight for something and for much of the first half we dominated the game. 3 great chances in the opening 30 mins should have been easily dispatched by Chelsea’s front three but we were not clinical enough and West Ham continued to survive. A 36th minute corner brought the opening goal for Chelsea after what was scruffy defending on West Ham’s part, Azpilicueta was the most alert player and was able to nick the goal, and his celebration was a touching gesture to Ray Wilkins.
Chelsea started the second half in the same fashion as they did in the first half, plenty of possession but no real end product and a failure to convert chances when they appeared. Watching the game you got the sense that the longer West Ham were able to keep it 1-0 the more panicked Chelsea would get. At the 70th minute a certain Javier Hernandez came on for West Ham and I had a gut feeling that he would do what he always did against Chelsea and score. Score he did in the 73rd minute after a poor clearance from Cahill. West Ham had the goal they needed and managed to see out the game while Chelsea continued to reach the West Ham box without creating any real threat. A good header by Giroud late on was saved brilliantly by Joe Hart.
Where does this draw leave Chelsea? We are now 10 points behind 4th place spurs and 3rd place Liverpool, although we do have a game in hand against the reds. Liverpool did draw their game this week but if Chelsea do not win their games it does not matter what other teams do. Arsenal are now 3 points behind us and honestly it seems like a fight to stay in 5th place.
In his post match press conference Conte restated the facts about being clinical and lacking desire and needing to work, and suffer but even he ended it by saying that he was tired of asking the same things from his players every single week.
As far as West Ham are concerned, this draw takes them to 14th and 6 point so the relegation zone and with games to play against a few other top 6 sides this was a vital point earned for them.
For me this season is over, Conte mentioned it from the beginning that this season would be tough, but to not be able to beat teams in the bottom half of the table is unacceptable. A different team seems to have come into 2018, one that lacks the capability to finish and, resilience to defend, these were qualities that got us the title last season. All Chelsea can do is focus on the ending the season the best way possible and then we will see what follows.