West Ham 3-2 Chelsea | How the f**k did we lose that game!

Chelsea threw away a chance to jump above Leicester City into third place in the Premier League and to extend the gap to the chasing pack fo...

Chelsea threw away a chance to jump above Leicester City into third place in the Premier League and to extend the gap to the chasing pack for the top four by losing to West Ham 3-2. Chelsea's defensive frailties were exposed once again and are a major cause for concern moving forward. 

Knowing that Leicester had suffered defeat to Everton in the earlier kick-off, Frank Lampard's side knew a victory would lift them into third place. If anything, that should have been all the motivation they needed to deliver the right performance and ensure we took all three points. How on earth do you explain that ninety minutes later, we are praying to the right ball to be played into the box just to take a point instead?

There is one thing with West Ham in recent seasons and the games they have played against us, they play with at least NINE players behind the ball (in addition to the Goalkeeper) leaving just a lone striker upfront. They like to play with two banks of four players in a line across midfield and again in their defence. They play within the width of the penalty box and allow you the space in wide areas knowing that eventually, you are going to have to come inside with the ball or, lump it into the box to a congested area where they feel comfortable knowing they have enough bodies in position to deal with the cross. 

As soon as the game kicked off, West Ham made clear their intentions - to deny Chelsea space in the middle of the pitch outside their penalty box and to close the ball down once we had crossed the halfway line. We had previously struggled with this in recent seasons and I had hoped that we wouldn't tonight. Looking back at the game we moved the ball well and much better in the second half. We were totally dominant with possession of the ball and if anything, contributed to our own downfall with too many players pushed forward chasing a winning goal. 

Despite all our possession in the first half and the odd potshot at the Goalkeeper from distance, West Ham had the best chances to score. Antonio fired wide and just beyond the reach of Lanzini at the back-post when it seemed easier to hit the target. Soucek had a goal disallowed from a corner (rightly so) after Chelsea failed to deal with the ball in the box. West Ham was finally rewarded with a goal before half-time with another corner floated to the back post for the 6ft 3 Soucek to outjump the 5ft 9 Azpilicueta and head home giving our hosts the lead at half-time. 

Frank Lampard had work to do and he got the reaction he was looking for. Within minutes of the restart, some good play from Kovacic down our left-hand side and his flicks the ball to Pulisic on the edge of the West Ham box. Pulisic sees the defender close him down just inside the penalty area and flicks the ball passed him and takes the hit from the defender who is beaten and wins the penalty. Willian steps up, sends the Goalkeeper the wrong way and its 1-1. 

At this point we are more than dominant. Again though, West Ham in their defensive shape is looking for Chelsea to break them down. But for a cross that comes close, Chelsea fails to force Fabianski to make a real save of note. 

Instead, against the run of play, West Ham wins possession inside our half, Declan Rice plays a ball into Antonio on the edge of the box who claims to be pulled back by Rudiger. He loses possession but West Ham collects the ball and play out wide right to Bowen who takes on Alonso to the byline. He drills a cross low into the box and with Rudiger & Christensen both sucked towards the ball and caught ball-watching, Antonio strolls onto the ball behind them unmarked to slot home from six yards with Kepa beaten to make it 1-2. 

One again we are looking for a reaction and Captain America - Pulisic takes the game by the scruff of the neck, collects the ball inside their half 40 yards from goal, dead centre and drives forward, he beats one tackle and knocks the ball passed Rice he brings him down 25 yards from goal to the left of centre and we have a chance with a free-kick to make Fabianski work. Willian once again delivers and fires home in off of the far-post giving him no chance and we are 2-2. 

Chelsea now is moving forward in droves with just Antonio upfront and again for all their possession struggle to find the right ball or killer pass. With around 10-12 to go, West Ham break on the counter-attack down Chelsea's left-hand side and its noticeable that Marcos Alonso has been caught high up the pitch and unable to get back. Luckily for him on that occasion, we manage to get bodies back and win the ball. 

On 89 minutes it happens again. This time Rice lumps the ball forward to Antonio who holds off the challenge of Christensen. He lays the ball off and collects it back in yards of space on the halfway line as Christensen retreats back towards goal. Antonio looks up, spots the run down our left-wing by Yarmolenko as he had done previously, this time he collects the ball and drives towards our box with just Rudiger to beat. He cuts inside onto his left-foot with Rudiger struggling to block the shot and left-footed he fires into the far corner with Kepa having no chance to make it 2-3 - Chelsea was sucker-punched - GAME OVER and three points - a single point lost!

Our defending at times is shambolic, there are no leaders in that backline literally bellowing at their teammates to get back and defend their space or to bollock them for not doing so!. We cannot defend crosses that are thrown into the box as we witnessed against Aston Villa and a few times tonight, and there is no command of the ball when it is lumped into the box - no real authoritarian to go and challenge. Also, we need to sort out the man-marking with Cesar Azpi left exposed for their first goal. 

As for West Ham, but for the penalty and the free-kick, they pretty much executed their gameplan and on a night where the points are just as important for their Premier League survival as it is for our top four hopes, it's a massive result!

Missed opportunities in the Premier League, defensive issues, a lack of ownership and three points lost. How the fuck did we lose that game!?

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