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Wednesday, 7th March 2001

West Ham United 0
Chelsea 2

by Staff Writer

Following the diabolical postponement of the original staging of this fixture on the 30th December, many of us felt the fiasco would prove costly in more ways than one. Harry Redknapp said as much at the time and described the re-arranged game as a nuisance, clearly focused on the FA Cup Quarter Final clash with Tottenham. I felt that there was more chance of hell freezing over than beating Chelsea, needless to say it was a mild evening in contrast to the bitter chill at Highbury. Pity there was no such contrast in the Irons display.

Despite the return of The gifted Di Canio and Cole it was still a makeshift line up. Again Soma was deployed in midfield whilst Stevie Potts also filled in alongside him. We were further disrupted when Stuart Pearce took an ankle knock and departed early. The re-organization saw Song revert to the back three with Schemmel taking his place.

Though we had looked unbalanced from the off there was plenty of endevour. It was still low key but we should have taken the lead. A Paolo free kick caused confusion amid Chelsea's defence and Cole lashed the ball against the angle, when he really should have scored. Shortly afterwards another set piece ended with Song's diving header so close to putting us 1-0 up. The
> hope was short lived as on 32 minutes Icelander Gudjohnson found the net with ease from the edge of the box. 6 minutes later and it got worse, Hasslebaink scored from a similar position with a typically fierce accurate strike.

2-0 at half time Chelsea cruising to their first league win on their travels for nearly a year. Sub Schemmel failed to reappear replaced by Diawara as we switched to a flat back four. Things didn't improve and we failed to have any decent attempts at goal. The only shock was that we prevented Chelsea adding to their tally. Suker who had looked so sharp on that opening day at Stamford Bridge failed to make an impact and was booed off the park.

With one eye on the cup and all the injury disruptions I didn't expect much but the way we rolled over once we went behind was alarming. There was far too much space out there and it was fully exploited and none of the deputies bar Basilla did themselves any good.

The only thing to impress me all night was the progress of the new stand. It's shaping up nicely and the beginning of the corner infill with the Bobby Lower is being formed.

Harry stated "We will be in a different mood on Sunday". Kanoute and Carrick's return would be a massive boost but it will take more than mood to beat the Totts and he will need to lift the troops who must be low after this second desperate derby day defeat. Third time lucky we must hope.

Player Ratings

Hislop 7 - Steady enough, some panicky clearences.

Song 6 - Slight improvement on recent displays.

Dailly 6 - Looked more at home at the back, but failed to cover for both goals and played too many hit and hope long balls.

I.Pearce 6 - Still not sharp enough, needs more games. Worked hard but not tight enough.

S Pearce - early knock, massive loss.

Soma 5 - Off the pace again. Didn't look comfortable , funny run doesn't help. Did win some tackles back . Withold my judgement until he plays at centre back.

Potts 6 - Didn't do much wrong in midfield but it was asking a lot of him.

Lampard 7 - Did his best to make things happen.

Cole 7 - Very bright early on but faded as game lost it's shape.

Di Canio 6 - Like Joe, busy early on and behind the few promising moments along with his protege.

Suker 5 - Failed badly to meet the H challenge. Drppoed deep too much when required in the box.

Subs

Schemmel 6 - non -stop but he too retired.

Diawara 6 - Worked hard but othing much came off.

Basilla 7 - Looked determined and busy when he came on, may be worth a go on Sunday if Carrick misses out.

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