AN ACTION-PACKED derby game at the London Stadium on Saturday ended with new West Ham boss David Moyes securing his first victory, while Chelsea manager Antonio Conte conceded the Premier League after their fourth defeat in 16 games.
A happy Moyes explained how his side had taken confidence from their spirited performance against Manchester City last Sunday, which saw the Hammers lose out narrowly to the league leaders.
“We had a good plan and organisation,“ said Moyes, who once again deployed Marko Arnautovic and Michel Antonio in free-running roles up front to stretch the Chelsea rearguard. A similar tactic had been used against City. “We tried to fill the middle of the pitch with power and pace.”
Moyes was pleased with the rising energy levels of the players and added that he would like to see Arnautovic and Antonio play 90 minutes, rather than having to come in after 75 minutes as in this game.
The West Ham manager proved once again that he is not afraid to ring the changes, with Adrian retaining his place, at the expense of England’s Joe Hart, after an impressive game against City. Others missing out on the start were the clubs four main strikers Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew, Javier Hernandez and Diafra Sakho, all of whom started on the bench. Sakho did get on for the last 20 minutes.
The home side began as they meant to go on, not allowing Chelsea any space. The approach yielded early dividends when, in the fifth minute, the impressive Arnautovic exchanged passes with Manuel Lanzini in the penalty area, before calmly slotting home.
Chelsea then piled on the pressure with Eden Hazard seeing one shot go just wide, while Adrian turned another round the post.
Five minutes into the second half, Arnautovic was sent clear by Antonio but Thibaut Courtois came out to block the resulting shot.
Chelsea began to camp in the home team’s half. The Hammers though held on, with Hazard and Alvaro Morata missing good chances for the visitors.
Conte declared his desire to stay in the battle for the title but conceded that four losses, with two against sides at the bottom of the table, really was not good enough. “You can lose once or twice,” said Conte. “I said it would be very very tough and that is proving true.”
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