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Premier League

  • December 26, 2014
  • • 20:45
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: M. Oliver
  • • Attendance: 41589

Chelsea 2-0 West Ham: Terry & Costa on target for classy Blues

Chelsea 2-0 West Ham: Terry & Costa on target for classy Blues

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The Blues put in a routine showing to maintain their lead over Manchester City as Sam Allardyce's much-changed Irons team struggled to impose themselves

Chelsea retained their place at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham.

John Terry and Diego Costa grabbed the goals in an impressive display as the fourth-placed visitors were brushed aside at Stamford Bridge.

By Liam Twomey

Chelsea's maddening lack of creativity the last time West Ham visited Stamford Bridge led Jose Mourinho to petulantly claim that Sam Allardyce had held his team to a goalless draw playing "19th century football". It was hard to tell what plan the resurgent Hammers were attempting to follow this time but, in all honesty, it didn't really matter.

Mourinho's team are a different beast now, and were simply too good. Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas turned the midfield 'battle' into a rout well before half-time, Eden Hazard weaved his typical magic in between the lines and Diego Costa surged menacingly around the final third.

There were too many threats for West Ham to try and nullify and in the end it was captain John Terry, with his second goal in as many matches, who broke the deadlock.

The only lingering worry was that Chelsea might not get the second goal to secure a victory they unarguably deserved, but Costa put those fears to rest on 62 minutes and the Blues cruised to the finish line.

The festive period is a huge test of any potential title contender's energy levels and resolve but if all future opponents are attacked as confidently as this, Manchester City will have to seriously go some to prevent the Premier League title returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time in four years.
The Blues entered the game desperate to ensure they remained at the summit ahead of Manchester City's trip to West Brom later in the day, although West Ham - a far cry from the team Jose Mourinho famously claimed played "19th Century football" in a 0-0 draw last term - were expected to pose a significant threat.

That did not materialise in the opening period as Mourinho's men dominated, entering the break 1-0 ahead as Terry scored in back-to-back matches for the first time in a decade.

And even an added urgency could not spark a turnaround for West Ham after the restart, Costa firing home his 13th goal in 15 Premier League outings since moving to Chelsea.

Sam Allardyce's team never really threatened to get back into the game from there, although Morgan Amalfitano struck the post as they pressed late on.

Chelsea got off to a fast start and should have taken the lead in just the fifth minute. Oscar - brought in as the only change to Mourinho's XI - spurned a golden opportunity, blazing a volley over from six yards after Carl Jenkinson had failed to clear Willian's cross.

Gary Cahill was next to threaten when rising high in the area to head over from centre-back partner Terry's clever chipped pass.

Set-pieces were proving especially threatening, epitomised by Cahill forcing a superb save from Adrian after West Ham had failed to clear Cesc Fabregas' corner.

The visitors offered little, with the exception of the odd flash of pace from Enner Valencia, and they were again indebted to Adrian when the goalkeeper punched away Oscar's powerful strike.

The opening goal finally arrived in the 31st minute, as Terry tapped home after Costa had flicked on Fabregas' corner.

Chelsea threatened three more times before the interval, Nemanja Matic seeing a 20-yard effort tipped around the post before Costa twice missed the target with good opportunities.

West Ham showed significantly more purpose at the start of the second period, although the hosts almost added a second when Adrian pushed away Eden Hazard's powerful curler.

Allardyce subsequently turned to Alex Song and Diafra Sakho, who were surprisingly left out as two of three West Ham changes.

Their introduction came in the wake of more uncharacteristic profligacy from Chelsea, Costa poking straight at Adrian from Fabregas' free-kick.

But the Spain international made no mistake next time a chance came his way, turning three defenders and powering a left-footed strike into the corner to extend the hosts' advantage.

Costa and Fabregas spurned further chances to add gloss to the scoreline, before Amalfitano fluffed the chance of setting up an exciting finish when his chip over Thibaut Courtois hit the woodwork.