Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga fire West Ham to 3-1 victory over Chelsea
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp. Last Updated: 03/12/12 4:08pm
Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga fired West Ham to a 3-1 victory over Chelsea at Upton Park to increase the pressure on new Blues manager Rafael Benitez just three games into his reign at Stamford Bridge.
The Hammers were second best throughout the first half and were fortunate to be only 1-0 down after Juan Mata scored the first goal of Benitez's tenure, but Sam Allardyce's men were transformed after the break and levelled through Carlton Cole before half-time substitute Diame and late arrival Maiga found the net in the last five minutes.
Chelsea made the perfect start when they took the lead with only 13 minutes on the clock as Victor Moses received possession out on the right and threaded a pass through the West Ham defence for Fernando Torres, with the Spain international advancing to the goal-line before cutting the ball back into the path of Mata to clinically side-foot into the bottom corner.
Best of the match
- Man of the match: Mohamed Diame. His influence turned the game on its head when he arrived from the bench at half time. He added a much-needed urgency to West Ham and really inspired their comeback, netting a goal for his troubles as well.
- Goal of the match: Juan Mata. The link up play between Chelsea's forwards was outstanding and the Spaniard finished precisely after wonderful work from Moses and Torres.
- Attempt of the match: Mata's curling free-kick agonisingly struck the post before West Ham cleared. It was a lovely effort from the playmaker that left Jaaskelainen no chance.
- Save of the match: Jussi Jaaskelainen made a superb double save to keep out Eden Hazard's long-range drive and then Torres' close-range shot.
- Moment of the match: Diame's goal turned the game around as Chelsea crumbled in the latter stages with West Ham the only team looking capable of leaving Upton Park with three points.
- Talking point: Rafael Benitez's reign continues to begin acrimoniously and Chelsea fans will no doubt be livid at their side's collapse after looking so strong in the first half.
The Blues could have doubled their lead when Ramires intercepted Guy Demel's sloppy pass out of defence, bursting into the box and finding Moses, but he failed to make a clean contact. There was another opportunity in the 25th minute when a swift break found two Hammers defenders facing four Chelsea players, but Ramires' pass to Torres was not the best and the striker's shot was weak and over the bar.
Kevin Nolan did have the ball in the net on a rare foray forward for West Ham but his overhead kick was ruled out with Martin Atkinson's whistle having already stopped play after James Collins was ruled to have held down Branislav Ivanovic.
Jussi Jaaskelainen was then called into action to make a superb stop from Mata, with the Spaniard's powerful shot from 12 yards after excellent work from Moses on the left expertly parried by the goalkeeper before Joey O'Brien slid in to block the follow-up.
Petr Cech escaped with only a yellow card as he strayed outside his area to punch clear above Gary Cahill and Matt Jarvis before being forced into his only real save of note on the stroke of half-time as Nolan headed goalwards after Collins' free-kick had looped up off the wall.
There was renewed purpose from West Ham at start of second half with Allardyce sending on Diame and Matt Taylor for Gary O'Neil and James Tomkins and they pressed forward with greater intensity, forcing a series of corners, with Cahill needing treatment for a bloodied nose after stooping to head clear and taking the full force of Carlton Cole's boot.
And the Hammers were back on level terms in the 63rd minute when Jarvis' cross from the left looped up into the air and Cole clambered all over the back of Ivanovic to divert his header beyond a bemused Cech at the near post, with Chelsea's players awaiting a whistle which never came and John Obi Mikel booked for his continued protests.
The Blues were inches away from restoring their advantage as Mata curled a glorious free-kick against the face of Jaaskelainen's upright, moments after the goalkeeper denied Eden Hazard before Torres showed a clear lack of conviction with his weak follow-up. Chelsea appealed for a penalty in the 71st minute when Moses went down under Taylor's challenge but Atkinson was not interested, while moments later Jaaskelainen's throw went straight to Hazard, but his attempted chip drifted over the bar and behind before he was replaced by Oscar.
Jarvis had a glorious chance to claim the points for the Hammers in the 82nd minute as he burst clear onto Mark Noble's through-ball, only for Cech to make an excellent save, with Winston Reid seeing his header cleared off the line by Ashley Cole from the resulting corner, but the Hammers were not to be denied.
In the 86th minute, Jarvis clipped the ball into the box for Carlton Cole to lay it back to Diame to drill home from 15 yards with Ivanovic offering only weak resistance, before Ashley Cole's blunder in defence allowed Maiga to play in Taylor, whose shot was parried by Cech only for the Mali forward to gobble up the rebound.
|West Ham United||Team Statistics||Chelsea|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|9||Shots on Target||7|
|2||Shots off Target||6|
|40.8||1st Half Poss.||59.2|
|40.5||2nd Half Poss.||59.5|
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||30||42|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||30||33|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||30||22|