Another Chelsea defeat, more chaos engulfing the club and that one big question that looms ever greater. Jose Mourinho refused to answer any questions, or speak to the media at all, after being sent off for a half-time incident, but the details of this deserved West Ham United win almost said enough.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants to give Mourinho time to turn this around but that stance will not just be tested by a fourth League loss of the season, after Andy Carroll powered in a late winner. There was also the farcical nature of the performance, as the champions were so aggressive in their reactions to the referee Jonathan Moss’s decisions, but so meek in trying to attack.
The match ended with Nemanja Matic sent off for two bookings, Mourinho and his assistant Silvino Louro following the Serbian down the tunnel, and a further four Chelsea players booked due to so many remonstrations. Amid all of that, there was the most borderline goal decision that the game will see, as Kurt Zouma was denied a goal by millimetres. That proved key.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic jokingly asked how many incidents there were in the game, and offered some sympathy to Mourinho. “I would definitely moan if it was against us,” Bilic said, “but they weren’t mistakes.” He added: “I feel for Mourinho. A lot of decisions from his point of view have gone against him.” It all added up, however, to what the Croatian described as a “brilliant win”. Chelsea felt anything but brilliant. Gary Cahill said they were “devastated”.
It is often said how cruelly thin the margins can be at this level, but it is rarely so literal. Chelsea had been building after Mauro Zarate’s opening goal for West Ham, until Zouma powered a header at goal. Goal decision technology dictated that not all of the ball had crossed the line, although it looked like more than 90 per cent of it had, and thereafter: total meltdown.
West Ham had been good value for their lead, with Dimitri Payet constantly causing problems. It was his corner that brought the opening goal after 17 minutes. Diego Costa fluffed the clearance but there was no such hesitation from Zarate, as he thrashed the ball past Asmir Begovic.
Chelsea did respond well, with Costa and Willian looking dangerous. Zouma thought he had scored, and Cesc Fabregas had the ball in the net, only to be ruled offside. It was not the only decision to go against Chelsea in a remarkable 10-minute spell. Matic had been booked|for cynically taking down Cheikhou Kouyaté in the counter-attack that came straight from Zouma’s header, and then subjected Diafra Sakho to a similar challenge down the right.
The West Ham players surrounded the referee and, after some deliberation, the official produced a second yellow for Matic. He then had to produce another two cards in quick succession as, once the decision was made, it was Chelsea’s turn to surround the referee. Moss was in no mood to indulge it, and put John Terry in the book, followed by Fabregas. The recriminations, and dismissals, were not finished there, as Louro remonstrated with the fourth official and was ordered off. Throughout all of this, Mourinho stood looking incredulous on the touchline, occasionally adding a sarcastic clap.
It seems he was much more abrasive in the tunnel, as the Portuguese was also sent off, with speculation that he had attempted to enter the referee’s room. Either way, he watched the second half from the directors’ box. The irony was that Chelsea were fortunate to be just 1-0 down. Just before all the chaos began, Manuel Lanzini should have scored, only to chip the ball over Begovic rather than finish.
Chelsea made West Ham pay for that 10 minutes into the second half. They made the decision to bring off the under-performing Fabregas for John Obi Mikel, and he did temporarily steady the team. After 56 minutes, Chelsea won a corner, from which Cahill powered an equaliser past Adrian.
There was still too much anxiety about Chelsea, too much panic every time West Ham got close. Too many clearances were hacked away, and Begovic was forced into whacking the ball out for a corner under pressure. That told. After 79 minutes, Aaron Cresswell hooked a cross over for substitute Carroll, who easily headed it home. Chelsea’s reaction was meek. Mourinho was left stony-faced in the stands. The wonder now is what Abramovich’s reaction will be.
West Ham (4-5-1): Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Collins, Cresswell; Noble (Ogbonna, 90), Kouyaté, Payet, Lanzini (Obiang, 81), Zarate (Carroll, 68); Sakho
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Zouma, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta (Baba, 86); Ramires (Falcao, 82), Matic; Willian, Fabregas (Mikel, 45), Hazard; Costa
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Man of the match: Kouyaté (West Ham)
Match rating: 7/10
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