Jose Mourinho cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines at full time, as Chelsea were held to a 0-0 draw by London rivals West Ham United on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.
For vast swathes of the game it was like watching an attack vs. defense training session, with the Hammers withstanding immense pressure in both halves as Chelsea looked to climb above Arsenal in the Premier League standings.
But it wasn’t to be.
Chelsea came closest in the first half when Oscar saw his curling effort tipped onto the bar and late on West Ham ‘keeper Adrian pulled off some stunning saves from Frank Lampard, John Terry and Samuel Eto’o as Chelsea missed a glorious chance to close the gap on those above them ahead of their clash with league leaders Manchester City next Monday.
To their credit West Ham defended tremendously and only created a few half chances throughout a rain-soaked 90 minutes.
Chelsea had 39 shots as West Ham blocked 24 of them, with one way traffic flooding toward the Hammers goal for almost the entire game. West Ham had just one shot the entire game, as Allardyce’s men grabbed a valuable point in their fight against relegation.
With the draw Chelsea are now three points off Man City in top spot as the Blues have 50 points, while West Ham move up to 18th and are now just two points from safety.
It was an even start at a rain soaked Stamford Bridge, as West Ham looked at ease in the treacherous conditions.
But Oscar almost gave Chelsea the lead in the 8th minute, as the Brazilian’s curling effort was tipped onto the crossbar by West Ham’s ‘keeper Adrian.
Chelsea continued to probe in front of West Ham’s defense but the visitors were easily thwarting any advances as Mourinho didn’t look pleased with this sides display.
In the 25th minute West Ham’s Diame had a nasty injury as he was sent tumbling into the stands following a slip on the sidelines. With the nasty fall, that knocked over some cups of tea and a hot dog, Diame injured his ankle and had to be replaced by Matt Jarvis. Samuel Eto’o went close to giving Chelsea the lead in the 45th minute, as the Cameroonian striker saw his snapshot palmed away by Adrian in the pouring rain in West London.
Try as they might Chelsea couldn’t break down West Ham before the break, as Allardyce’s side set their stall out to defend resolutely and were doing a marvelous job as half time came and the score remained 0-0.
After the break Chelsea kept flooding forward but the pitch conditions at Stamford Bridge were hampering their usual free-flowing style of play.
In the 59th minute West Ham had a glorious chance to score as Jarvis’ left wing cross was tipped away by Chelsea ‘keeper Petr Cech but only as far as Andy Carroll. However the big man had a rush of blood to the head and took a wild swipe at the ball as he completely missed his kick. A real let off for Chelsea.
That miss spurred Chelsea into life as Lampard came off the bench and smashed plenty of efforts in on goal that the Hammers blocked heroically on multiple occasions.
As the game went on West Ham dropped deeper and deeper towards their own goal and they kept inviting pressure from Chelsea as a sea of Blue shirts poured towards the Hammers goal. Eto’o thought he had scored when he cheekily tapped home following Adrian putting the ball down in the incorrect position for a West Ham free kick, but the Blues found Adrian in inspired form as he saved tremendously with his feet late on from Lampard.
Not such a special performance from the “Special One’s” team, as Chelsea now have some work to do to catch Man City at the summit.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta (Lampard, 63); Ramires, Mikel (Matic, 63); Willian, Oscar (Ba, 83), Hazard; Eto’o
West Ham: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, O’Brien, Noble, Taylor, Nolan (Nocerino, 80), Downing, Diame (Jarvis, 30), Carroll (Cole, 64)