Player by Player Analysis: Chelsea 2-1 West Ham Utd

West Ham recorded a fourth loss of the Premier League season on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge in controversial circumstances.

The Hammers had a late Maxwel Cornet equaliser ruled out by VAR for a foul by Jarrod Bowen on Edouard Mendy; a decision that has since been called “the worst in the history of VAR” and resulted in an official acknowledgment of the error from PGMOL.

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It was a particularly frustrating result for David Moyes’ team given that the performance had been incredibly disciplined and, though Chelsea had dominated the ball for most of the match, West Ham will feel that they created the better chances and deserved to take something from the game.

Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski (3)

Fabianski was barely troubled in this match as Chelsea managed just three shots on target but the Pole somehow managed to let Ben Chilwell’s effort through by abandoning his goalline. With Chilwell so close to the touchline, if Fabianski had stayed in line with his post he would surely have been able to make a simple save. Crucially, his distribution was sketchy and he failed to offer calmness from the back as Chelsea pushed hard for a goal.

Vladimír Coufal (6)

He’s still kicking the ball long far too often and with far too little success but this was an assured defensive performance from Coufal who made five tackles and interceptions (second highest) and put in a particularly good recovery challenge on Pulisic to deny the American a shot on goal from close range after Chelsea’s best move of the match. Coufal has taken a lot of flak for Havertz’s winner in the final minutes but no right-back can stop the cross with such an obvious 2v1 and zero support.

Thilo Kehrer (6)

If there’s anything that’s mildly worrying about Kehrer, it’s that he continues to put in strong all-round performances that seem to continually have a mistake in them. This was another performance that was undermined by a silly error where he failed to read the flight of Thiago Silva’s through ball to Chilwell, completely mistimed his jump, and failed to head the ball away.

Kurt Zouma (8)

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Zouma was imperious at the heart of a low-block defence once again on Saturday. As the team has shifted to a more conservative, counter-attacking approach to manage the last few matches, the Frenchman has excelled. Able to focus on heading the ball out of the box, getting his body between opposition players and the goal, and not much else, he has performed to a much higher standard than he did in the opening few games and made 12 clearances in this match, one being crucial to deny Havertz a goal as Fabianski failed to claim a cross.

Emerson Palmieri (7)

We would never have expected Emerson to line up as a third central defender in a back three but he did a good job in the role in Saturday’s match. It’s a complex position as the left sided player joins the three when the team is out of possession but becomes a more natural left-back when possession is then regained. Emerson showed a clear understanding of the different responsibilities of each of these roles and, bar one mix-up with Pablo Fornals, the Italian was fantastic defensively.

Pablo Fornals (6)

Again deployed in the hybrid left sided role, Fornals showed his incredible adaptability on Saturday. Whilst he is good at the more front-footed defending he does from this position when the team wants to press, the Spaniard has always been a little easy to dribble past 1v1 and this was obvious here as he completed just 25% of his tackle attempts on dribblers. With West Ham struggling to develop any extended periods of possession, Fornals was also responsible for some rushed balls forward that turned the ball back over. Not his strongest showing.

Tomáš Souček (7)

As we’ve repeatedly mentioned on Analytics United, playing in a midfield two in front of a back three suits Souček perfectly as the role generally requires a lot of running and a high level of defensive competency. Without impressing, he was solid throughout and performed his role well.

Declan Rice (7)

Rice’s first half was excellent but things got more patchy in the second half as there were some excellent moments of anticipation to snap in, make an interception and drive upfield mixed with some weakness in duels and a crucial lack of anticipation for Chelsea’s winner. He could easily have assessed the situation and made his way over to support Coufal and stop Chilwell from being completely free to whip the ball across.

Lucas Paquetá (7)

It’s immediately clear that Paquetá is going to add a level of quality that simply doesn’t exist across the rest of the squad in attacking areas. His off-ball work is absolutely fantastic; he has all of the energy of Fornals but with massively improved efficiency – 24 pressures at 45.8% success is an impressive return. He also has that touch of inventiveness in the final third which we saw with his backheel cutback to Michail Antonio which led to the series of corners that resulted in the opening goal.

Jarrod Bowen (6)

Another solid performance off the ball but another game where Bowen hasn’t really performed to his best as an attacker. It was his shot and corner that led to the opener and he had some other promising carries forward but he seems to be really struggling to make a big impact from a right-wing position where he is often finding himself narrower and closer to Antonio earlier in moves.

Michail Antonio (6)

This was a very patchy performance from Antonio who had some of the team’s best moments with his surges upfield and at times excellent hold-up play combined with some weak off-ball moments where a lack of positional discipline led to opportunities for Chelsea to get some joy down the flanks. There was the goal, a tap-in from Rice’s pass, and total indiscipline as his frustration with referee Andy Madley grew.

Saïd Benrahma (7)

Another excellent substitute performance where his quick thinking and creativity from the left should have led to a winner for Cornet as the Ivorian somehow managed to hit the post with his free header in the final minutes. Benrahma initially struggled playing through the middle after coming on for Antonio but immediately showed his value once shifted to the left.

Angelo Ogbonna, Maxwel Cornet – N/A

Chelsea: Mendy (4), Fofana (5), Silva (8), Koulibaly (6), James (6), Gallagher (5), Loftus-Cheek (6), Kovačić (5), Cucurella (5), Pulisic (6), Sterling (6); Broja (7), Mount (4), Chilwell (8), Havertz (7).

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