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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
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29 January 2014
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: N. Swarbrick
• Attendance: 41376
West Ham United
That's all we have time for, but we hope that you enjoyed our live coverage of Chelsea's hectic 0-0 draw with West Ham at Stamford Bridge, with Allardyce's men holding their resilience to nick a valuable point in the relegation battle. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you again next time.
That's two points dropped for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, who fail to capitalise on Arsenal's draw against Southampton, handing the title race impetus to Man City. It's a close run thing at the top of the table, but West Ham's defensive showing was certainly worthy of some kind of reward.
It ends goalless, but certainly wasn't low on entertainment! Chelsea threw everything they had at West Ham, but a good defensive display denied the hosts from taking three points. Taylor was a one-man blocking machine, denying Lampard on several occasions, while Adrian made several top saves.
FULL TIME! So close, but yet so far for Chelsea! They had chance after chance, but just couldn't convert! Cech was a spectator for large periods, with the likes of Lampard, Eto'o, Ba and Hazard unable to find the back of the net.
90' + 7'
LAMPARD! Hazard drives down the left, before cutting the ball back from the byline to Lampard, who fires directly at Adrian, who improvises and kicks the ball out from under his feet! What drama!
90' + 6'
It's in the net! Eto'o races towards a dead ball in the penalty area, which Adrian had placed down for a foul, turning it into the net, but the referee had awarded a foul! Bizarre!
90' + 5'
HAZARD! He drives past two defenders, before firing straight at Adrian, who nearly spills at the feet of Ba! The Spaniard collects at the second attempt, taking the ball off the feet of the substitute.
90' + 4'
IVANOVIC! The Serbian defender heads wide, after Ba's flick on! It's a goal kick and it looks as though West Ham have weathered the storm tonight!
90' + 3'
BA! He strikes the near post! Adrian may have got there, but the woodwork did first! Very close for Chelsea yet again, but Hazard goes on a mazy run and fires narrowly wide on his left foot from a tight angle!
90' + 2'
LAMPARD! Yet another block, with Taylor acting like a human wall! He puts his midriff in the way of another strike from the substitute, who really got behind that. Two minutes left of stoppage time for Chelsea to find a goal!
Good block from O'Brien! The left-back finds himself in a central area, throwing himself in to make a block to deny Ba at the far post! Last ditch stuff, but this is what West Ham need to get over the line. He looks to have dislocated his shoulder by making that challenge.
We're approaching stoppage time, and there are still enough minutes left for Chelsea to pull out a winner. West Ham are desperately clinging on, continuing to defend with discipline, and it seems that the visitors will be taking home a point.
IVANOVIC! A very good effort from range, but it's always swirling away from goal! It was well struck, but Adrian was happy to watch it wide. It's testament to West Ham, how many long range efforts Chelsea have been forced into this evening.
Five minutes left now, and Chelsea still can't push through the resilient lines of West Ham defenders. Mourinho conceded that this would be a tough game, and it is certainly proving that way. Everything the hosts have thrown at their adversaries, the Hammers have had an answer for.
Yellow Card Ramires
CAHILL! Matic shifts the ball inside, finding the former Bolton defender on the edge of the box, but he can only curve a weak effort into the grasp of Adrian. The West Ham goalkeeper hasn't been particularly tested in this second half, his defence have absorbed the majority of the pressure.
Eight minutes left of normal time, and things are getting a little bit rushed and hectic at Stamford Bridge. Everyone in this stadium knows how important this game is for Chelsea, but the visitors aren't letting them have it their way. Carlton Cole might as well be a potted plant, as he's had so little to do, but West Ham are holding out.
Noble has his number put on the fourth official's board, but the defensive midfielder looks incredulous with the decision! Quickly, the change is altered, with Nocerino coming on for his debut in place of the tiring Nolan. It would be strange to change anything defensively, West Ham have been excellent.
Eto'o goes down in the penalty area, with the Stamford Bridge crowd calling for a penalty, but the referee gives the decision in the opposite direction. It looks to be the right decision, as the former Anzhi striker gets to his feet with a beaming smile. It appeared that the Cameroon forward just collided with Demel.
Just over ten minutes to play, and Chelsea continue to bash their heads against the wall that is Allardyce's West Ham outfit. They're only defending the width of the penalty area, but they have enough bodies in the way to keep making vital blocks.
Audacious rabona fake from Hazard! The Belgian shaped to cross the ball with a cheeky rabona, but instead kept the ball in touch and cut back inside of Demel. Matic strikes, it's blocked, and goes behind for yet another corner - but Chelsea fail to capitalise again.
Yellow Card Kevin Nolan
Lampard tries his luck yet again, but balloons his eventual effort well over the bar from 30 yards. Nolan is booked for slowing a Chelsea free-kick from being taken, as West Ham attempt to stay in this game with some cynical and last ditch stuff.
OSCAR! LAMPARD! Another shot for Oscar, another block, this time by Taylor. West Ham's personnel are acting as a wall in front of Adrian, with the Spaniard equal with anything that can get through the claret and blue wall! Lampard gets the second opportunity, with Taylor throwing himself in front of the England international's second chance since coming on! Great commitment!
Good defensive header from Collins! An excellent ball from Ramires on the right hand side dips into the depths of the penalty box, but the Wales international is able to head away, but only as far as Willian. The Brazilian is shepherded out of the box, as he has no support.
Narrowly over 20 minutes left to play, and Chelsea are still yet to find their breakthrough goal. Since Carroll was taken off, West Ham haven't threatened whatsoever, with Carlton Cole not having the same presence. It seems that the remaining minutes will be filled with Chelsea pushing forward for the elusive first goal of this game.
HAZARD! Close from the in-form winger! He drops a shoulder and pushes the ball onto his right foot, firing a dipping effort wide of the far post. Lampard has already played a few useful, positive passes since taking to the field.
LAMPARD! Tomkins and Taylor throw themselves at the feet of Lampard, as the former West Ham midfielder blasts a shot towards goal from just inside the penalty area. Great work from Willian to cut the ball back from the byline to his English teammate.
John Obi Mikel
Both managers choose to make their second half changes at the same moment, with former Chelsea striker Carlton Cole taking to the field - what a story that would be if he found the back of the net. Mourinho opts to make the midfield more dynamic, with Matic replacing Mikel and Lampard coming in for Azpilicueta, leaving Ramires to cover at right-back.
Around half an hour left to play, and Chelsea's desire to win tonight is nearly tangible. Three points would be enough to put tonight's hosts level with Arsenal, throwing Mourinho's side deep into the title race. West Ham now break up the right, with Ivanovic forced to head away at the back post, with Jarvis lurking behind him.
Yellow Card Matthew Taylor
MIKEL! CARROLL! The Nigerian midfielder shoots from range once again, with Chelsea running out of options by the minute. West Ham break up the other end with Downing, before the former Liverpool winger dinks the ball to the back post in search of Carroll, who snatches at the volley and fails to make telling contact. Great opportunity for the visitors!
Chelsea's players are aggravated by a poor challenge from O'Brien on Willian, as the former Anzhi wide man tried to bustle beyond his marker and break. The referee played advantage, but both Mourinho and his players were incensed by the cynical challenge, making sure that the referee produced a yellow card for the left-back.
Yellow Card Joey O'Brien
RAMIRES AGAIN! The Brazil international steams in at the back post, but can only sidefoot a half volley high and wide of the target. He stepped inside Willian, running onto a back post cross, but just couldn't keep his effort down. Another half chance, with frustrations rising.
RAMIRES! Taylor makes an important block, with Collins equally willing to throw himself in front of the shot too, directly behind his teammate. It's been a plucky and committed performance from the away side, decidedly so. A point would be great for their survival aspirations.
Good ball across the six yard box from Willian, but Eto'o can't get on the end of it, with Adrian totally helpless. So near, but yet so far for Chelsea, who might need to make a substitute to change the face of this game. They just haven't got the means to unlock this well disciplined Hammers' defence.
OSCAR! The young attacking midfielder shoots from 25 yards, but can only direct his effort straight at Adrian, who claims well in the slippy conditions. Plenty of half chances for the hosts, who haven't been afraid to let fly tonight, but they can't find their breakthrough goal.
Clever idea from Oscar, as the Brazilian looked to dip a low drive through the corridor of uncertainty, but Tomkins smartly intercepted the intended pass, before clearing. They're struggling to break this Hammers side down.
CARROLL! The target man is found by a good cross by O'Brien, before the forward goes down under the challenge of Terry. The former England international defender looked to strike his man in the face with a stray, flailing arm, but the referee chooses not to penalise the Chelsea defender.
Chelsea continue to be frustrated by West Ham's resilient back four, who are marshalling the 18 yard box with discipline. Oscar and Willian have plenty of time on the ball, especially 20 yards from goal, but the visiting defence are happy to sit in their shape and frustrate, only closing down when it's absolutely necessary.
Excellent block by Tomkins! Ramires broke into the penalty area, before being smartly fed by a cute ball by Oscar, but the Brazilian's effort on the half volley was stopped on its path to goal by Tomkins. Good defending.
MIKEL! The midfielder listens to the shouts of the crowd, and lets fly from 30 yards, but sees his effort crash off the first man in claret and blue in front of him. Chelsea have started the half the better of the two sides, but Carroll is still a good focal point for the visitors.
We are underway for the second half, as Chelsea look to break down a rather negative West Ham side, who have seemingly arrived at Stamford Bridge to park the bus and hope for a goal from a set piece. A goal for either side could massively alter the shape of this match.
Carroll has been an occasional threat for the away side, but any offensive play has been short-lived, in truth. The hosts are well on top, in terms of both possession and chances, with West Ham seemingly here to cling onto a valuable point with all of their might. Rejoin us in narrowly over ten minutes for all of the second half action!
HALF TIME! Goalless, but West Ham will be glad that they aren't behind, heading into the dressing rooms. Oscar has rattled the woodwork, with Adrian forced into action on several occasions to deny the likes of Oscar, Eto'o and Terry. A game of fine margins and plenty of set pieces, as Allardyce's side look to devolve Chelsea into a team who is forced to look for the long ball.
45' + 3'
ETO'O! Negative stuff from the Hammers, who aren't willing to commit anyone forward other than Carroll in the dying minutes of the half, with the visitors more than happy to try and defend. The ball finds its way to Eto'o, who swivels excellently in the penalty area, forcing a reflex save out of Adrian!
45' + 1'
Three minutes of stoppage time have been awarded. Carroll heads away, as yet another Chelsea corner doesn't come to fruition. A half of frustration for the hosts, who have nearly been dragged down to the rather poor level of their opponents this evening.
ETO'O! TERRY! The experienced striker is somehow allowed to turn inside the penalty area, despite Tomkins being right in behind him, before seeing a shot deflected behind for a corner. Terry rises well, with his header being well saved by the legs of Adrian, who saw it late!
HAZARD! The Belgium international strikes from distance, but the ball hurtles somewhat comfortably into the grasp of Adrian. Pressure from two visiting players pushing out from the edge of the 18 yard box didn't allow for Hazard to shift the ball out of his feet into a more favourable position, not permitting the winger to strike the ball as he may have liked.
Eto'o again struggles to have an impact on the game, as Collins robs the former Anzhi man of the ball. Hazard picks up the pieces, but the same West Ham defender makes the block. Frustrating for Chelsea at the moment.
Now it's Terry's turn to make a clearance, this time to deny a West Ham corner, with plenty of visiting players lurking in the box. Set pieces could prove very important tonight, but West Ham aren't the only side who can capitalise, Chelsea showed against Man United that they can get some reward from dead ball scenarios.
Good clearance from Carroll, inside his own penalty area! The former Newcastle forward gives away a free-kick by clattering Hazard, before the Englishman managed to hook away Hazard's poor delivery from the dead ball situation. Neither side have quite been able to find that cutting edge to part the opposition defence.
Shaky clearance from Cahill! The central defender fails to hook away a dangerous near post delivery, slicing the ball behind for a corner, for which the Hammers need no encouragement or invitation to take. Downing takes the set piece, but his ball in is awful, earning him some withering glances from Carroll and his teammates.
The home side haven't managed to piece together any zipping passing moves, despite the wet conditions, and as such West Ham have been able to cope. Should Chelsea look to play quicker transitions, or drive at the fullbacks with the likes of Hazard and Willian, gaps could open for Eto'o to exploit, as the lone striker has been rather anonymous.
Chelsea are dominating, but only through the away side's insistence on inviting them forward. Jarvis is the man who replaced Diame, perhaps offering some additional pace in support of Carroll, while providing a good left foot for delivering to the key man in attack for West Ham. The visitors remain comfortable, but don't look like scoring.
Half an hour has passed, and West Ham remain on level terms, despite Oscar rattling the woodwork, courtesy of a fingertip save from Adrian. The Hammers have lost Diame to injury, but Chelsea haven't managed to penetrate the deep lines of the visitors, who seem content to sit on the edge of their own box, before trying to supply runners to the isolated figure of Carroll.
West Ham look to have a problem on their hands, as Diame is still limping following his fall into the Stamford Bridge crowd. He had signalled to the bench, but Allardyce looks reluctant to take off one of his more dynamic midfielders.
Diame clatters over the advertising boards, falling into the front row of the Chelsea supporters, who look rather shocked to see the physical frame of a footballer hurtling into their laps. He receives some quick treatment, but should be okay, as he slipped on the astroturf surrounding the pitch and couldn't stop himself.
MIKEL! The Nigeria international fires wide of the post from 25 yards, as the midfielder looked to curl an effort into the bottom corner. Adrian had it covered, and West Ham won't mind if Chelsea continue to shoot from that range. Adrian has only been tested by Oscar thus far.
Sam Allardyce won't be too unhappy with his side's start to the game, despite the away side giving away a few early corners. Downing and Diame have looked bright when they're permitted to get forward, while as aforementioned, Carroll has been a tough brute to deal with.
NOLAN! The West Ham captain fizzes a low drive well wide of the far post, but the referee had already pulled play back for a foul by Carroll. The target man is proving to be a handful already, as Chelsea don't have a defender who can consistently dominate in aerial battles against him.
Good work from Oscar again! The diminutive Brazilian is buzzing in between the lines, forcing the likes of Collins and Tomkins to commit themselves. The Welshman obliges this time, diverting Oscar's cross away from goal as the expense of a corner, which Chelsea don't capitalise upon.
Hazard takes a knock from Matt Taylor, as the former Portsmouth man follows through on the Belgian's ankle, after a strong challenge. The 23-year-old goes down briefly, but gingerly gets back to his feet without physio attention. A risky challenge from the Hammers' midfielder, given the soggy conditions.
ETO'O! Quick break from Chelsea, but the Cameroon international couldn't apply the finish! Hazard is found by a long ball from Ivanovic, before the Belgian nods the pass back into the path of the onrushing Eto'o, who couldn't keep it down under pressure from Tomkins!
WILLIAN! The former Anzhi man shifted the ball onto his favoured right foot, driving into a tiny opening on the edge of the box, with Noble unable to make the block. The effort arrows narrowly over the crossbar, with Adrian having his angles covered. A warning sign for the Hammers.
GOOD SAVE! CECH! A free-kick is whipped into the centre of the six yard box, before Tomkins heads towards the bottom left corner. The Czech goalkeeper gets down smartly, pushing the ball away from the danger zone, and it takes a nick off Nolan from point blank range, before heading behind for a goal kick. Very close for West Ham!
An interesting opening ten minutes, as the away side are giving almost as good as they're getting. Diame and Downing haven't been afraid to get forward, and Chelsea certainly aren't lining up against the West Ham side who have suffered of late. The return of important players could push the visitors towards some valuable points tonight.
OSCAR! GREAT STRIKE! The Brazil international cuts inside on the edge of the penalty area, curling an effort beyond Demel, but not quite beating Adrian on the way into the top corner. The Spaniard tips the shot onto the bar to give Chelsea an early set piece opportunity. Good save!
Carroll is already showing that he can be a catalyst for the Hammers, as the former Newcastle striker stands tall to act as a target man. Should Allardyce's side want to transition quickly up the field, they certainly have quality in their ranks to pick out their key man.
CARROLL! The England international goes down in the penalty area, after he was crashed into by Azpilicueta, but the physically imposing striker could have slipped on the unforgiving surface. It was a good ball into the back post from Downing, who chopped inside Ivanovic nicely to give himself space to deliver.
Half chance for Ramires, the Brazilian drives through the centre of the park, picking up a loose ball, after Oscar is robbed of possession. He drives past two challenges, and pushes into space on the edge of the penalty area, but Collins steps out to meet him. A positive start from the home side, plenty of players are keen to get forward.
To put this game into context, West Ham are currently joint-bottom of the league, while Chelsea could go top tonight, should results go their way, and should they win by more than two goals. Stamford Bridge has been a fortress for Chelsea this season, with tonight's hosts dropping merely two points on home turf all season.
We are underway in the first half, with West Ham certainly not wanting to take a heavy beating tonight! After the Gunners dropped points, Mourinho's side could really put themselves on the heels of one of their London rivals, and will do should they mimic their 3-0 away win at Boleyn Ground earlier in the season. In poor weather, anything could happen, especially with Carroll starting for the away side.
In contrast, Chelsea have dispatched of Stoke City, Manchester United, Hull City, Derby and Southampton in their last five matches, conceding merely once. At Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho's men have been hard to handle, but West Ham are beginning to look a little more sturdy as key players begin to trickle back from the physio room. Tonight could be a pointer towards their Premier League fate.
West Ham have only managed three goals in their last five games, with two coming in their away visit to Cardiff. At home, Allardyce's side managed to net against Newcastle, but on the road it's a different story altogether. Six goals conceded against Man City, and five goals conceded in the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest, really paint the picture of the Hammers' recent woes.
West Ham substitutes: McCartney, Jarvis, Morrison, Jaaskelainen, C. Cole, Nocerino, Borriello.
West Ham starting line-up: Adrian; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, O'Brien; Diame, Noble; Downing, Nolan, Taylor; Carroll.
Chelsea substitutes: A. Cole, Luiz, Lampard, Schurrle, Ba, Matic, Schwarzer.
Chelsea starting line-up: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Obi Mikel; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Eto'o.
TEAM NEWS: Azpilicueta is again preferred to Ashley Cole in the Premier League, with Obi Mikel slotting in alongside Ramires to shield the back four in place of David Luiz. Eto'o starts as Chelsea's lone striker, as the Cameroon international looks to continue his excellent scoring record at Stamford Bridge. Matic is on the bench for the home side in the league once again.
TEAM NEWS: Nocerino and Borriello are on the bench for the visitors, as Big Sam dipped into Serie A for his first pieces of transfer business of the month. The Hammers have a more recognisable back four in place, with Collins and Tomkins in front of Adrian, with Carroll hoping to continue his comeback from injury in goalscoring style.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the proceedings from Stamford Bridge, as West Ham appear to be ultimately facing the impossible. Arsenal dropped points in their 2-2 draw with Southampton yesterday, leaving the door open for Chelsea to gain ground at the top of the table. Given Manchester City's clash with Tottenham in tonight's fixtures, Chelsea could see today as a pivotal turning point in the title race.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Chelsea's hosting of West Ham, in some of tonight's Premier League action. Jose Mourinho's side are in excellent form, having picked up five consecutive wins in all competitions, while the Hammers are faltering, finding themselves in the relegation zone. Their 2-0 win against Cardiff is their only victory in their last five matches, leaving Sam Allardyce slightly under pressure as the season wears on.
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