The last time we played our London rivals a 2nd minute Michael Essien header put our boys on the back foot from the get-go. To be honest, a dominant Chelsea outfit swept the Hammers aside, but it’s certainly going to be a lot different this time around.
No longer easy beats, we’ve had a great start to the season. Chelsea haven’t been as dominant as usual, and they’ll be vulnerable with the recent sacking of their manager, Roberto Di Matteo. Last time around, Chelsea pushed forward with certainty from the first whistle and were rewarded with an early corner. Didier Drogba’s cross found an unmarked Michael Essien did the business, heading his free header past Robert Green with conviction.
The West Londoner’s second goal was the result of a comedy of errors. Firstly, ‘keeper Rob Green failed to secure Drogba’s low freekick. Although Hammers defender pounced on the loose ball, he booted his clearance into Salamon Kalou’s heel. Unfortunately for the East Londoners, the ball ballooned off Kalou’s heel into the back of the net. The Hammers struggled for fluency and seemed to lack space. This often resulted in weak turnovers, which the Blues capitalised on. However, pacy Nigerian forward, Victor Obinna had two chances to pull the Hammers back into the match on his debut. First, he narrowly missed a volley and shortly afterwards blazed a powerful shot across the face of goal.
Despite a bright start to the half by the Hammers, which saw the introduction of Kieron Dyer, Chelsea still looked the side most likely to score. The Blues put their third past the Hammers when Paulo Ferreira’s cross from the right met the head of the Ghanaian Essien at the far post seven minutes from the final whistle. A moment of brilliance from Scott Parker put the Hammers on the scoresheet two minutes later, but it was too little, too late – a theme that would haunt them for the rest of the season.
West Ham: Green, Ben Haim, Upson, Ilunga, Jacobsen, Parker, Boa Morte (Dyer 46), Noble, Behrami (Piquionne 72), Cole, Obinna
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, A Cole, Ferreira, Terry (Alex 82), Essien, Ramires, Mikel, Drogba, Kalou (Malouda 84), Anelka (Kakuta 76)
Managers: Grant, Ancelotti