Grant calls for character as nightmare start goes on

West Ham United 1 Chelsea 3

Avram Grant displayed the air of a doomed man as he stood impassive before the West Ham United dug-out, but then again he always does. Chelsea's routine victory means he has overseen the worst start in the club's 115-year history, and rumours that West Ham's co-owners are beginning to think they may have made a monumental error in appointing him are gathering momentum.

His cause was not helped by goalkeeper Rob Green, who spilled a straightforward free-kick that allowed Chelsea to score a second, 91 days after his infamous World Cup howler in Rustenburg that cost England dear against the US.

Grant called on his goalkeeper to show character, a challenge that applies to the whole club after four straight defeats. "Sometimes supporters love you, sometimes they are against you. You need to do your job anyway. Rob is a tough guy. He's a good goalkeeper and he needs to react like a man, which he is doing," Grant said.

Fabio Capello dropped Green after his last clanger, but there is little chance of the same fate befalling him at club level. Instead it could be Grant who takes the rap, with West Ham already four points from safety. Next weekend's trip to Stoke City is a very early season relegation six-pointer.

One thing that could buy Grant some time is the club's need to count every single penny, as sacking their new manager, who is on a four-year contract and has brought in three new members of the coaching staff, will cost several million at a time when bankruptcy is still a real possibility.

Co-owner David Sullivan wrote in his programme notes about how he is struggling to cope with the club's £100m debt, and is relying on the largesse of the banks.

"It is the most difficult task to try and keep the club afloat, yet still pursue a strategy of improving the team," he wrote. "The club is still very much in a precarious position. We have £50m of bank loans and £50m of other debts. The banks have been incredibly supportive and without their help we would simply not exist."

Another factor in Grant's favour is the spirited performance of the team, who managed to keep the match alive despite conceding two early goals. "I don't think we will ever have a problem with fighting spirit," Grant said.

Two headers from Michael Essien, either side of a comical goal from Salomon Kalou that involved Green dropping the ball and Matthew Upson's clearance striking the Chelsea striker on the heel, confirmed the visitors' dominance, before Scott Parker's wonderful volley gave West Ham their first goal from open play this season.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech said Essien's goals proved the champions can score from everywhere, and not just through Didier Drogba: "We know we have six others who can score. We don't rely only on Didier. That's why he gets involved, he passes the ball, he create the chances, and not just for the other strikers, for everybody."

Match facts

West Ham (4-4-2): Green; Jacobsen, Ben Haim, Upson, Ilunga; Behrami (Piquionne 72), Parker, Noble, Boa Morte (Dyer 46); Cole, Obinna.

Substitutes not used: Stech (gk), Tomkins, Barrera, Kovac, Faubert.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry (Alex 82), Cole; Essien, Mikel, Ramire; Kalou (Malouda 84), Drogba, Anelka (Kakuta 76). Substitutes not used: Turnbull, Benayoun, Zhirkov, Sturridge.

Booked: West Ham Parker, Noble.Chelsea Cole, Ivanovic.

Man of the match: Essien.

Possession: West Ham 49%, Chelsea 51%

Shots on target: West Ham 7, Chelsea 9

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside). Attendance: 33,014 Match Rating: 7.

Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
techTweets not showing up or loading this morning, users say
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker