Christian Pulisic hit a late winner as Chelsea sealed a 1-0 win over 10-man West Ham United in the Premier League (PL). The victory at Stamford Bridge sees Thomas Tuchel’s men avoid the ignominy of suffering four straight home defeats for the first time since September 1978.
Before today, Chelsea lost three of their last six matches in all competitions but must have fancied a change in fortunes looking at West Ham’s line-up. With Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen, and Michail Antonio sitting on the bench, the points were there for Chelsea to take, although their performance suggested otherwise. It is clear that fixture congestion and off-the-field issues have taken their toll at Chelsea, because once again they were sluggish. The ‘Hammers’ stayed compact, limiting Chelsea to few chances, the best of which saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek denied by Łukasz Fabiański before N’Golo Kanté struck wide. With one win in their last 16 trips to Chelsea, West Ham almost snatched the lead on the break. However, Edouard Mendy was alive to deter Saïd Benrahma, who was wasteful after picking the pocket of César Azpilicueta – just one of the Chelsea defenders caught dawdling in possession.
After the break, Timo Werner had the chances to put Chelsea in front, but having hit four goals in his last four games, he was wasteful this time out. First, Werner saw his half-volley blocked by Craig Dawson, before he was unable to poke past Fabiański from close range. In response, West Ham almost hit the game’s opening goal, but Tomáš Souček was unable to capitalise on a rare break forward. Chelsea had a late lifeline when they were given a penalty after Romelu Lukaku was brought down by Dawson. The centre-back was sent off after a VAR check, but Jorginho, hopped, skipped, and missed, tamely passing the ball to Fabiański with all the energy of a drained battery.
It mattered little, however, as Pulisic would provide a late spark, striking past the West Ham keeper in stoppage time to dramatically secure all three points. West Ham will now turn their attention to a UEFA Europa League semi-final on Thursday, as concerns grow over their domestic campaign with their only fit centre-back now suspended. Meanwhile, Chelsea have all-but secured qualification for the Champions League thanks to a tense victory.