Chelsea continued their fine run of form at Upton Park on Saturday as the Blues made it four wins in four matches by beating West Ham 3-1. A brace from Michael Essien and a fortuitous goal from Salomon Kalou helped the West Londoners pour misery onto a West Ham team that seemed largely out of sorts and out of ideas.
Carlo Ancelotti took the opportunity to rest some players ahead of the Champions League match on Wednesday by recalling Kalou for Florent Malouda on the left wing and Branislav Ivanovic for Alex in the heart of defence. John Terry recovered from the hamstring problem that kept him out of England duty, while Frank Lampard watched from the stands after a hernia operation. Ramires, Chelsea’s big signing, was given his full debut in the center of the midfield in place of Lampard.
The Blues didn’t miss a beat, however, as they took the lead just a minute into the match. Essien strolled into the box unmarked to head home a Didier Drogba corner that seemed to hang in the air forever and the tone was set for the match.
The curse of the England goalkeeper befell Robert Green for Chelsea’s second as he continued to have a terrible time after his mistake during the World Cup. He failed to catch a Drogba free kick and Matthew Upson’s terrible clearance struck Kalou and deflected over the head of Green for a second goal.
The Hammers should have pulled one back seven minutes later, but Victor Obinna filed his contribution for miss of the season. Obinna found himself clear of defenders and latched on to a ball from Carlton Cole, but volleyed the ball wide from eight yards out. Obinna did better when he cut inside Paulo Ferreira, but was unable to hit the target from just outside the box.
Things wouldn’t get any easier for West Ham as Avram Grant’s decision to play a 4-4-2 diamond in midfield failed to generate any creativity and Paulo Ferreira and Ashley Cole acres of space to play down the wings. This led to the third goal just seven minutes from time as Ferreira had acres of space on the right to put in a cross and Essien rose to meet the ball for his second of the match.
Former Chelsea man Scott Parker got a late consolation when Petr Cech failed to punch a corner far enough and it fell to him on the outside of the box. Parker side foot volleyed the ball over the Czech goalkeeper as he was off his line.
Fredric Piquionne could’ve added a second in the 88th minute but one-upped his teammate Obinna by heading the ball off the crossbar from one yard out. It seemed to sum up the day for the Hammers as luck seems to have deserted them and it appears that they may be it a bit of trouble.
West Ham: Green; Jacobsen, Ilunga, Ben Haim, Upson; Behrami (Piquionne 72min), Parker, Boa Morte (Dyer 46); Noble, Obinna; Cole. Subs (not used): Stech, Tomkins, Barrera, Kovac, Faubert. Booked: Parker, Noble.
Chelsea: Cech; Ferreira, Cole, Ivanovic, Terry (Alex 82); Kalou (Malouda 84), Essien, Mikel, Ramires, Anelka (Kakuta 76); Drogba. Subs (not used): Turnbull, Benayoun, Zhirkov, Sturridge.