Timo Werner’s first-half goal held up as Chelsea won a big London derby over 10-man West Ham United with a 1-0 win at the London Stadium on Saturday.
Chelsea out-attempted West Ham 17-9, putting six of the game’s eight shots on target, and saw an easier end when Fabian Balbuena was sent off for a controversial foul on Ben Chilwell.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
The Blues move onto 58 points, one back of third-place Leicester City and three clear of their Saturday hosts.
Now fifth-place West Ham holds a one-point lead on Livrpool, two ahead of Tottenham, and three clear of Everton who has a match-in-hand and visits the Irons on May 9.
Three things we learned from West Ham – Chelsea
1. Volume-shooter Werner arrives at the right time to score: He just missed with some chances, saw others blocked, and did — in fact — score, but Timo Werner really does look as comfortable as he has in ages. He’ll need to up his game against Real Madrid during the week as Chelsea aims for the Champions League, but his timing on the game’s lone goal was perfect and he’s perhaps quietly accumulated 11 goals and 12 assists across all competitions. A big goal in Europe or the FA Cup Final and we may see Werner’s first season in a new land viewed as perfectly acceptable (although certainly not the 34 goals and 13 assists of last season at RB Leipzig).
2. VAR and the rulebook will change quite a bit: When you see Callum Wilson’s goal ruled out earlier Saturday in Liverpool’s draw with Newcastle and then the conflicting red card and no cards we’re about to detail, you’ll know plenty is going to change when the rule makers come together in the offseason. Fabian Balbuena was sent off for trodding on the calf of Ben Chilwell with the followthrough of a big clearances, but Vladimir Coufal spared the rod, so to speak, when his clearance caught Antonio Rudiger. What are we doing?
3. Chelsea comfortable in moving clear of rivals: The Blues should’ve found their second and maybe third goals against a scrappy West Ham, but don’t let the hullaballoo around the late red card detract from the fact that Chelsea’s cozy-enough win wasn’t far away in control from Man City’s one-goal comeback win versus Aston Villa. West Ham only wins because Liverpool failed to beat Newcastle.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount
Ben Chilwell was good and Werner could’ve had more than his goal, but Mount was the side’s danger man and kept West Ham off balanceon a few occasions. Lukasz Fabianski otherwise would like a word, having made a pair of fine saves on Mount and several other stops on other would-be Chelsea scorers.
West Ham – Chelsea recap
Chelsea came out of the gate with vigor but there was real danger from a West Ham counter, but Jesse Lingard was offside when Jarrod Bowen tried to slip him through on goal.
Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount were active in driving the Chelsea attack, but West Ham found a spell of possession before halftime that included a handball shout against Cesar Azpilicueta.
The Blues got their breakthrough thanks to two perfect passes, Pulisic hitting Ben Chilwell in stride down the left and the English back cutting an incisive invitation for Werner to slot home.
[ MORE: Three things from Liverpool – Newcastle ]
Mount forced an incredible save from Lukasz Fabianski, who then appeared to get a piece of Werner’s bid at the rebound though a goal kick was awarded to West Ham.
Pulisic fed Mount, who forced another terrific save out of Fabianski to keep it 1-0.
Balbuena was then sent off for a very weird VAR decision, as his followthrough on a clearance saw studs into the calf of Ben Chilwell.