Chelsea 0 West Ham United 0
Wednesday, 29th January 2014
by Staff Writer
Chelsea may have enjoyed 38 efforts on goal at Stamford Bridge tonight, but the only statistic of importance is that which lists a big fat zero in the 'goals scored' column.In what was rarely a contest, Jose Mourinho's Blues - no strangers themselves to playing defensively with view to grabbing a goal on the break - spent most of this uneven Premier League clash camped inside West Ham's half attempting to conjure a meaningful opening.
That they managed to do on several occasions, but each time Chelsea were thwarted by a resolute claret and blue defence - reminiscent of that which a relatively well-known Scot once described as "obscene" - underpinned by the quite magnificent Adrian in goal.
The Spanish goalkeeper, only considered first choice in recent weeks was outstanding as he denied the title-chasers time after time - none more notably than in the sixth minute of added-on time (four minutes had previously been called by the fourth official) when he prevented Frank Lampard's goalbound effort from snatching all three points.
However his defensive unit were just as effective, rarely conceding free kicks in dangerous areas - a problem all season - and throwing themselves into last-ditch tackles when the situation demanded it.
West Ham had looked like making a game of it for the opening quarter-of-an-hour as a strangely subdued Chelsea failed to find their rhythm. However opportunities to nick one on the break were few and far between once they did - and attempts on goal non-existent after a first half chance for James Tomkins.
The game was also notable for a couple of unusual incidents in the second half. Firstly a passionate Mark Noble appeared to refuse to leave the field of play after his number was held up, with new signing Antonio Nocerino waiting to make his Premier League entrance.
The confusion ended when Kevin Nolan selflessly opted to substitute himself, with neither Noble or the bench seemingly prepared to back down.
That incident was followed by a late Chelsea claim for a goal when Adrian had placed the ball on the floor for a free kick, after he was failed inside the six-yard box.
Samuel Eto'o clearly hadn't noticed the award for an infringement as he smashed the ball into the net in front of a bemused 'keeper, before reeling away to celebrate. Protestations at the 'goal' being disallowed continued long after the final whistle as Chelsea players surrounded the referee - not for the first time.
Yet that was of little concern to West Ham who were left to celebrate surviving intact and taking home a valuable point in their battle against relegation. Sadly they may have to do it without one of tonight's stars Joey O'Brien, who is understood to have sustained a dislocated shoulder after being shoved to the ground by Chelsea's Gary Cahill.
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Match FactsWest Ham United: , , , , , , , , , , .
Booked: None booked. .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Subs not used: .
Booked: None booked..
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Adrian San Miguel del Castillo.