Chelsea came out of the London Stadium empty-handed after succumbing to a late winner from Andriy Yarmolenko.
Comingoff the back of three victories since the restart, Lampard made a couple of changes to his lineup – bringing in Ross Barkley and Marcos Alonso for Mason Mount and Emerson. Christian Pulisic was back in the lineup as well, which was a huge boost for Chelsea after signs that he was injuredagainst Leicester.
The game was underway and Chelsea, donning their new attire, were dominating possession in the opening exchanges. Willian had a good effort on goal, but flew tamely into the hands of Lucasz Fabianski. West Ham had an early sniff at goal, which was narrowly missed by Michail Antonio after some poor defending from Chelsea.
Before heading into drinks break Pulisic had the best chance for the Blues, but it was just find as the American could not find the target. However, the first event of note came at the other end, as Soucek managed to scramble a corner into the Chelsea net – which was subsequently chalked off by VAR for offside.
At the other end, Chelsea were almost awarded a penalty almost immediately afterwards as Christian Pulisic was brought down by Issa Diop after a mazy run. Willian stepped up and calmly sent the keeper the wrong way to give Chelsea the lead.
As half-time approached, West Ham hit back after Antonio Rudiger foolishly kicked the ball out for a corner under pressure. The ball was whipped and Soucek again managed to put the ball in the net, and this time legally. Poor defending from Chelsea from another set piece – something of a habit this season – and they paid the price.
West Ham took the lead shortly after half time through Antonio – who managed to convert a sublime ball from Jarrod Bowen. Despite the use of substitutions, Chelsea were continually struggling to break down West Ham’s low-block defence.
This deadlock was broken by a piece of individual brilliance. Willian stepped and managed to score a spectacular free kick off the post after Pulisic was brought down outside the box with twenty minutes remaining. Chelsea constantly applied pressure, but the West Ham defence were resolute. Then, in the dying minutes, Yarmolenko slotted home – converting a sublime counter-attack to secure the spoils for the Hammers.
This loss may be of vital significance, as Manchester United and Wolves now sit just two points below the Blues in fourth place.
What’s next for Chelsea ?
Chelsea face Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday 4th July at 8pm.
UP THE CHELS!