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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
i100
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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention