On a nice sunny afternoon, Chelsea see off West Ham comfortably with a 1-0 win at Upton Park. Chelsea would rest players with a trip to the Camp Nou on the horizon, making five changes to the side that faced Everton on Wednesday. Starts would be handed to Michael Mancienne at right back, with Branislav Ivanovic moving into the center of defense. John Obi Mikel and Juliano Belletti would start in the midfield, and Nicolas Anelka was handed the start down the middle of attack, with Drogba getting a rest.
The changes would prove to be an intelligent decision by Guus Hiddink as Chelsea largely dominated the match, though West Ham would threaten the Chelsea goal on a few changes.
Things started brightly for Chelsea in the first minute, when Florent Malouda would have a chance at goal, but missed the target. Malouda would also be on the end of one of Chelsea’s best attacks in the first half, with a shot that just flashed wide of the post in the 17th minute after a great long ball from Frank Lampard on the counter.
While Chelsea enjoyed dominating possession, West Ham perhaps created the better scoring chances in the first half. Kieron Dyer would get a chance at a one on one with Petr Cech, as he split the defense, in the 20th minute. His shot would be well saved as Cech dove at his feet and covered. Diego Tristan would get another good chance to break the deadlock in the 45th minute, as Mark Noble’s corner would fall at his feet. Tristan would see his shot cleared off the line by Mikel.
Chelsea’s breakthrough would happen in the second half through Salomon Kalou after some more good build up play from the Blues. Malouda would find Lampard making a run down the left, and Lampard’s cross eluded Robert Green, leaving Kalou on the far post to stab home from six yards. The goals was just reward for the dominant play that Chelsea enjoyed for much of the game.
Kalou almost become the villain and the hero, when he pulled down Herita Ilunga in the box resulting in a penalty to West Ham in the 70th minute. But Cech would rescue the Ivorian by making a good save to his left on Mark Noble’s penalty. That would be the last danger that West Ham would pose and Chelsea would cruise for the remaining 20 minutes.