Premier League
Chelsea 5-0 West Ham United 

Saturday, 4th May 2024
by Chris Wilkerson

West Ham were put to the sword by a rampant Chelsea as a gutless performance saw them hammered 5-0 at Stamford Bridge, their worst ever defeat to Chelsea.

After a week of rumour around the manager, West Ham could count themselves the fresher of the two teams after their opponents played Thursday night, but lacked anything in the way of intensity or determination as Chelsea played with their visitors.

It was a game that looked like confirmation of a managerial change, with the players off the pace from the start and never making Chelsea?EUR(TM)s football difficult to play. In a week where the manager was said to have banned Director of Football Tim Steidten from the dressing room, he might be more concerned that nobody within it is listening to him.

David Moyes has never won here in the Premier League, but he has seen his team take these beatings on the road with some regularity this season. Palace, Fulham, Villa, Newcastle and Liverpool have all notched four or more against Moyes?EUR(TM)s side when they have rolled into town.

This one was built on a complete lack of pressure on anything that Chelsea did. It was stark just how much time and space they were allowed to play football in.

The game started without much intensity and it became only a matter of time before Chelsea tested just how much leeway West Ham would give them.

Having done little to test Areola beforehand, Chelsea opened the scoring just inside 15 minutes.

A low cross from the right by Madueke was contested by Jackson and Zouma, but as the defender blocked the attempted volley, the ball dropped down right in from of the deadly Cole Palmer just eight yards out, and he swept it home easily, reacting quickly to hit across goal and into the corner. It?EUR(TM)s now 16 games without a clean sheet for West Ham.

The Hammers almost equalised immediately. Emerson delivered an outswinging corner from the left and it was met by Bowen at the near post, around eight yards out, but could only see his header smack off the crossbar and away to safety.

Unfortunately for West Ham, none of their usual grit seems to be with them any more, and whilst there may be mitigating circumstances for a lack of mobility at the back with Ogbonna forced to play again due to injuries, there is no excuse for how often Chelsea found free headers from their corners.

Chalobah should have doubled his side?EUR(TM)s lead just before the 20-minute mark as a corner to the far post was met by the defender. He was only six yards out and allowed a header under no pressure, but could only send it right at Areola.

It took another 10 minutes or so for Chelsea to finally extend their lead. In that period, they were playing with West Ham, just moving the ball around for fun, roaming free from position under little pressure, playing the ball under even less. Just on the half-hour mark, they made it two.

Fizzing it around inside the West Ham half, Chelsea looked for a gap. Palmer was strolling free of any marker, and it was him who forced it, driving a pass into the feet of Madueke just inside the box.

Again, a bit of luck went their way, Zouma challenging Madueke and seeing the ball loop into the air. It dropped perfectly for Gallagher, who volleyed into the bottom corner from 10 yards out with nobody near him.

Madueke saw an effort deflected just wide five minutes later, but his disappointment lasted less than a minute as he made it 3-0 from the resulting corner.

Another one to the far post saw another free header as Antonio let Thiago Silva go, and the Brazilian punished him by heading it back across goal, right to Madueke, who only had to lean down and nod in from inside the six-yard box to make it three.

It could have been four instantly after Palmer turned his man inside and out before firing a ball across the face of goal from the right, but Gallagher could only smack the bar from a few yards out after he got a left foot to the ball in the centre of goal.

West Ham did manage to smack the bar again themselves before the half ended, this time after good work down the right by Coufal.

The full back did brilliantly to nutmeg his man on the right wing and then clip a ball into the middle. Petrovic just got there ahead of a flying Soucek, but could only palm it down into the middle of the area.

It dropped behind Bowen, but he adjusted his feet and moved to hook the ball back at goal, only to see the ball hit the bar and bounce to safety once again.

Ward-Prowse replaced Alvarez as West Ham came back out from the half-time break, looking for something different to at least turn the second half into something positive. They did not.

It was 4-0 within three minutes of the break.

As West Ham passively sat in their mid-block, allowing Chelsea to hold comfortable possession. Chalobah decided to do something with his time on the ball, and seeing their visitors making passing into midfield difficult, he just bypassed it.

The full back, linked to West Ham in the summer and winter windows this season, looked up and saw a gap between Emerson and Ogbonna. Madueke made the run off the wing, darting into the space and meeting a perfect, driven ball from the defence.

Madueke was selfless, taking it under control and then rolling it square inside the box for Jackson as Areola came out, leaving the striker the simple task of passing the ball into an empty net.

Any flickers of life from West Ham were fleeting: Emerson wasting a great opportunity when put through cleverly by Paquet??; Ward-Prowse producing a decent, if not accurate enough freekick from the edge of the box that at least gave Petrovic something to do.

But it was Chelsea playing all the football. After a season of turmoil for them, inconsistency haunting them throughout the year, the Blues are ending on a high. Whilst there may still only be five points between the sides, there is hope and momentum with Pochettino?EUR(TM)s young team. The Hammers started one player under 25; Chelsea started one player over.

The fifth could have come sooner than it did, were it not for some good goalkeeping by Areola and some poor finishing by Chelsea. Madueke and Mudryk both should have extended that lead further.

West Ham did come close once more, Jarrod Bowen managing a rather quirky feat of hitting the crossbar three times in the match. This time, a loose ball after an Emerson shot fell close to the forward, and he did well to react and fire at goal, only to see his effort deflect off the arm of a defender - both too close to his body and too close to Bowen for punishment - and then off the bar once more.

But Chelsea did get their fifth, with 10 minutes to play. It might have been the easiest of the lot as Soucek lost the ball in midfield with his team forward chasing a goal. The midfielder was dispossessed after clumsy footwork allowed the ball to bobble away from him.

Caicedo took it, played a quick ball through the centre of defence and Jackson was through, hardly likely to be stopped by a pair of centre backs who looked at times like sprinting could force their legs to simply come off.

He strolled into the box without a defender near him, passed it beyond the beleaguered Areola and into the back of the net. Up went the flag, but VAR soon (well, by its own standards) overruled the assistant referee, Zouma keeping the striker onside, and the scoreline really reflecting the rout it was.

That the manager had thrown Ings and Cresswell on late in the game, with Mubama and Earthy among the young players on the bench who would have been desperate to impress, only irked Hammers more. It looks like a sad ending to Moyes?EUR(TM)s second term, one that had threatened to be bleak once the January window closed, but now is dying so meekly that even some of his loudest supporters see only the end in sight.


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Match Facts

West Ham United: , , , , , , , , , , .

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Chelsea: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: .

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: .