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 make it.

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.

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 down Azpilicueta.

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?

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.


matt said...

The injuries are getting worrying. The Feg was hurt against Juventus, but then trained all week before anyone noticed, a massive fail for the medical department. And why do we sign so many injury-prone players. In an under-whelming summer, all three of the main ones, Ayew, Tore and Feghouli have been injured.

In other news, our home capacity is being restricted because some people insist on standing. Watch this space, this one will run and run.

Pete May said...

And Cresswell and Lanzini to add to that list… Can't be many teams that have lost three big signings already, Maybe Calleri will be the answer. Standing rule seems silly when we are trying to build an atmosphere...

matt said...

Yes, but it'a not a "rule" imposed by the club, it's a law, imposed by the Government after Hillsborough.