West Ham musings by Pete May, author of Hammers in the Heart, West Ham:Irons in the Soul, Flying So High:West Ham's Cup Finals and Goodbye to Boleyn
Tuesday, August 16
Costa twists Chelsea dagger as Hammers lose it late
Chelsea 2 West Ham 1
It’s off to the Grafton Arms at Victoria for this one, where
Nigel arrives in his white Martin Bell suit to meet Fraser, a tardy Matt and
Nigel’s mate Patrick. Nigel’s been cycling in France for two weeks and needs
updates on WHU’s many signings and stadium migration. He then asks which West
Ham legend sent a twitter message to Matt and himself. Ian Bishop? Steve Potts?
No, turns out it was Sir Geoff Hurst who said that he wasn’t ignored at the
Boleyn closing ceremony but had a longstanding prior engagement so he couldn’t
We’re not sure why Feghouli and Ogbonna are missing, but
Collins and Ayew come in. West Ham are on the defensive from the off. It all
looks ominous for the Irons when star signing André Ayew plus up with a thigh
strain and has to go off after 35 minutes. Lisa texts Matt to say that Ayew’s a
true West Ham player. Chelsea dominate though West Ham defend reasonably well
with Masuako looking solid at left-back. Adrian tips over a Willian free kick
and Oscar has a dodgy penalty appeal turned down and that’s about it.
West Ham’s performance is worrying; Nordtveit looks off the
pace in midfield, Noble and Kouyate don’t really effect the game against Kante,
Valencia goes missing, Tore doesn’t make any impact from the bench and a
frustrated Andy Carroll is completely isolated.
WHEREFORE ART THOU ANTONIO?
Michael the non-Whovian texts from the corporate section at
Chelsea to say that Noble is having a ’mare. I make the mistake of going to the
gents during the ad break and come back to discover it’s a penalty to Chelsea
in the 46th minute. Antonio has tried to dribble out of defence when
he twice could have cleared. He’s lost possession and then panicked to bring
The plastic Chelsea fans at the other end of the pub
celebrate as Eden Hazard fires home. The penalty is further evidence that
Antonio is not a natural defender. Bilic replaces him with Byram —who does well
and plays sensibly — soon after that error, though I’d rather see Antonio
pushed up to midfield. Mikhail’s a fine player on the wing. Shouldn’t we just
do the simple thing and play him there?
THERE'S ONLY ONE GINGER PELE
It looks like a case of keeping the score down against a
motivated Chelsea as Adrian makes a fine save from Willian. Our only hope is
Payet, who replaces Nordtveit after 67 minutes. Ten minutes later Payet’s free
kick is deflected wide for a corner. From Dimitri’s corner Collins' initial header ricochets
off Valencia into the path of James Collins who lashes the ball home, much to
the glee of the away fans. There’s dancing in the seats of the Grafton. It’s
our first shot on target from the Ginger Pele.
Can we hold on? Diego Costa is lucky to be on the pitch,
having already been booked and then going in very late on Adrian. So it seems
inevitable Costa will then score. With a minute to go Batshuayi wins a header and Chelsea's Captain Haddock
lookalike is given too much time just outside the box and fires a low shot into
the net.The ball goes through Collins' legs, but as it wasn’t right in
the corner you do feel the otherwise excellent Adrian might have got a hand to
it. Chelsea gaffer Conte showboats by leaping into the crowd. Payet has a late effort straight at the keeper then it's over. Chelsea deserve
the points having dominated the game, but having got in a position to grab a
bonus point we shouldn’t have let it go.
It’s only the first game but this looked like we were going
backwards and two shots on target isn’t good enough, as Bilic admitted. It’s now vitally important we put in a shift at Astra and get three points against Bournemouth.