Maurizio Sarri's 100 per cent start to life as Chelsea manager is over after his side failed to make the most of their superiority in a 0-0 Premier League draw at West Ham on Sunday.
Sarri was aiming to become only the third manager ever to win his first six Premier League games in charge, but the Hammers frustrated the visitors and dug deep to hold on to a commendable point.
Despite spending much of the first half under pressure, West Ham actually crafted the better chances, but Michail Antonio – starting in place of the injured Marko Arnautovic – squandered two presentable opportunities.
Alvaro Morata and Andriy Yarmolenko wasted glorious chances at either end after the interval, though opportunities were otherwise a rare commodity in the second half and the Hammers' rearguard action kept Chelsea at bay.
West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) September 23, 2018
For all of Chelsea's first-half domination, clear-cut chances were hard to come by and they were nearly punished by West Ham just before the half-hour mark, but Antonio blazed wide after exquisite play by Felipe Anderson.
Kepa Arrizabalaga then kept Chelsea level a few moments later, blocking Antonio's close-range effort following a driving Yarmolenko run.
Chelsea finished the half with a flourish, but N'Golo Kante's header from Willian's cross went just wide.
The visitors looked tighter defensively after the break and should have taken the lead just after the hour – Morata's prodded effort blocked by Lukasz Fabianski's face from point-blank range following his introduction for the ineffective Olivier Giroud.
Yarmolenko missed an even better chance 12 minutes from time, heading wide of a gaping goal from Robert Snodgrass' delivery and that proved to be last opening as the spoils were shared.
COME ON YOU IRONS!! pic.twitter.com/nuqVh4XIjN— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) September 23, 2018
What it means: Hammers show steel and style
By no means were West Ham exceptional on Sunday, but in recent years they have made a habit of caving in on themselves and lacking the bite often shown by captain Mark Noble.
Against an in-form Chelsea, Manuel Pellegrini's men looked up for a scrap while also catching the eye with a few impressive moments in the final third courtesy of Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson.
After starting the season with four straight defeats, four points from two games shows a little progress and an indication they are starting to click under their new coach.
Willian willing in attack
Creativity was not one of Chelsea's strong points against West Ham's deep defence, as they struggled to find a way through consistently. Willian was at least a threat, however, using the ball well on the right flank and coming inside to good effect, creating six chances for his team-mates. He failed to inspire a goal, however.
Giroud kept under wraps
France international Giroud has not had a great start to the season. His presence allowed Chelsea to go direct if necessary, but he spurned two half-chances in the first period and thereafter he hardly featured before being replaced by Morata. He remains without a Premier League goal since the start of May.
Key Opta facts: Jorginho breaks new ground
- West Ham have avoided defeat in three consecutive Premier League games against Chelsea (W1 D2) for the first time since a run of five between March 1998 and March 2000.
- Chelsea failed to score in the Premier League for the first time under Maurizio Sarri and for just the second time in their last 15 league games (also a 0-3 defeat at Newcastle in May).
- This was only Chelsea's second goalless draw in their last 48 away Premier League games (also 0-0 against Everton in December 2017).
- Chelsea midfielder Jorginho attempted 180 passes in this match – since 2003-04, this is the most by a player in a single Premier League match.
After hosting League Two's Macclesfield Town in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, West Ham will welcome Manchester United to the London Stadium. Chelsea are in cup action on the same day as the Hammers, though their trip to Liverpool promises to be more of a test. They then face the Reds again in the league at Stamford Bridge three days later.