Chelsea vs West Ham Recap | Matchday 2
Chelsea Football Club brought their fans back down to earth after an embarrassing 3-1 loss to West Ham. Last week’s exhilarating draw against Liverpool gave many fans hope that Chelsea’s twelfth-place finish was firmly in the rearview mirror. One of the only positives of this match was Carney Chukwuemeka’s sensational goal that locked the teams at one apiece. On the bottom left side of the box, the Chelsea youngster cut to his right, used his right foot for the flick, and placed it beautifully past the keeper into the bottom-right corner of the net.
What a goal for Carney Chukwuemeka!
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 20, 2023
Unfortunately, even the beautiful goal was spoiled by Chukwuemeka’s eventual injury right before halftime. After the game, Carney was seen leaving the stadium on crutches as he looks to be the second attacking midfielder to sustain a major injury. The 19-year-old was helped off the pitch by trainers after having trouble putting pressure on his left foot. “We need to assess him tomorrow,” Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino stated after the match. “There will be an assessment tomorrow with the doctor. We hope it’s not a big issue, but we need to wait.” This follows the loss of Christopher Nkunku, giving Pochettino limited options to play in the middle of the park.
Throughout the game, The Blues struggled to find the back of the net with numerous inconsistencies in crosses and even simple passes on the attack. Chelsea created chance after chance but were unable to finish, even after the Hammers’ centre-back Nayef Aguerd was given a second yellow card in the 67th minute. The large discrepancy in chances can be seen through the xG (expected goals) where Chelsea totaled 2.57 to West Ham’s 1.85 although the final score line didn’t reflect this.
Due to the poor performances of midfielders Conor Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez, and even British record signing Moises Caicedo during that time, along with defending that allowed West Ham to counterattack easily, Lucas Paquetá was able to solidify the match-winner in the second-half stoppage time from the penalty spot. Somewhat ironically as Enzo Fernandez was given a chance to score from the spot himself after Raheem Sterling went down in the penalty in the final few minutes of the first half. West Ham midfielder Tomáš Souček gave Chelsea a chance to lead heading into halftime, but Enzo Fernandez’s weak strike to the left side made it comfortable for the goalkeeper Aréola to save.
The Blues maintained possession the entire match (76%) and finished with 17 shots but only four of those being on target. The team also took nine corner kicks compared to West Ham’s three. Led by James Ward-Prowse, the exceptional English set piece taker, the Hammers were able to take advantage of their limited opportunities from corners as Nayef Aguerd headed one home in the seventh minute after poor marking from the Chelsea players.
After the game, Pochettino commented in regards to still not receiving his first victory of the season, “It’s a concern that the results haven’t followed the performance. But if we played bad but won the games I think we should be more worried because then it’s only time until you start to lose games and then you need to find a way to perform.”
With this loss, Chelsea has now been defeated in four consecutive London derbies for the first time in the Premier League. The Blues will play their next match on Friday against the newly promoted Luton Town who are yet to play their second match. Their stadium, Kenilworth Road, is undergoing extensive improvement works to bring it up to code for the Premier League in terms of broadcaster and media requirements. The redevelopment has not yet finished. Luckily, this upcoming match will be at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea is hoping to bounce back on their home turf.