HAMMERS PROVIDE TRAINING TEST

Posted on: Fri 27 Mar 2009

The Chelsea players not on international duty were given some competitive action against a West Ham side at Cobham on Friday.

Despite the absence of most of the first team squad, there was still a number of experienced players involved, notably Florent Malouda, Alex, Ricardo Quaresma and Hilario.

The game ended in a 4-2 victory for the visitors, but was not without its highlights for the Blues, coached by Paul Clement and Ray Wilkins.

Also of note to Chelsea fans will be the presence of Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke at Cobham, who were keeping a close eye on their number, which included Kieron Dyer, Luis Boa Morte, Freddie Sears, Savio and former Fulham goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka.

The hosts started well, with Fabio Borini, playing in an attacking midfield role, testing Lastuvka before the Czech stopper clawed Malouda's looping effort off the line.

The game flowed freely from end to end, and it wasn't long before Hilario was called into action, pushing a free-kick around the post.

At the other end Alex sent in a trademark free-kick that Lastuvka parried to Borini, whose follow up was weak. Then Quaresma, who spoke about his time at Chelsea yesterday, had an effort deflected wide as he looked to impose himself on the game.

It wasn't long before his impressive touches and crossing created an opportunity, his deep ball was however just inches too high for Franco Di Santo, whose header was over.

Within a minute though the young Argentine had put the Blues in front. Given time to turn 25 yards from goal, Di Santo showed some neat footwork before curling his shot beyond the goalkeeper's reach into the top-right corner. It was perfect timing as the half-time whistle followed within seconds.

In the second half, Chelsea's superiority waned and the east Londoners were allowed back into the game.

Junior Stanislas pounced on Nana Ofori-Twumasi's loose pass, beat Mineiro in midfield and dispatched an unstoppable effort into the top corner to level matters.

Shortly afterwards the Hammers took the lead when a deep cross was slotted home after the Blues failed to clear, and then a third followed as a long-range curling effort gained benefit from the wind.

Stanislas, who faced us as a Southend United loanee earlier in the season, put a rather unfair slant on the scoreline with five minutes remaining when he added a fourth, before Quaresma, fed by Malouda, pulled one back in the final moments with another curling effort from the edge of the area.

Despite the result, the game provided an important workout for the players still at Cobham as they await their team-mates' return next week.

You can check back onto chelseafc.com over the weekend to follow the progress of the international players.