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Match report: Chelsea 2 West Ham United 2

Two set-piece goals from Cesc Fabregas, one at the end of each half, secured a point for the Blues from the west versus east London derby.

It was a good test of Chelsea resolve following two cup exits leading into this league game, especially with in-from West Ham taking the lead twice, firstly with a special strike from Manuel Lanzini and then a goal from Andy Carroll, but Fabregas excelled with a free-kick and then slotted a penalty late in the game to ensure honours were even and bring an end to the short run of defeats.

The Blues can claim we should have been given an earlier penalty while West Ham also hit the bar with the score 1-1.    

Although his resources upfront were diminished by injury to Eden Hazard and suspension to Diego Costa, Guus Hiddink had increased options at the back going into this match with John Terry fit to start game number 701 of his Chelsea career.

With the skipper back in the side, the defence was restored to a familiar one with Branislav Ivanovic at right-back and Cesar Azpilicueta back on the left. That meant Kenedy, who has been filling in at full-back, could push forward and take the place of Hazard. To spearhead the attack, Hiddink opted for Loic Remy over Bertrand Traore.

Prior to kick-off, there was a presentation to Terry to mark his 700-game achievement, handed over by one of only two ahead of him in the all-time appearance list – Ron Harris. On a sadder note, the Chelsea players wore black armbands in memory of Pam Jordan, a popular member of the medical staff who passed away this week. 

Fabregas and Kenedy, with a rapid one-two exchange of passes, threatened to start something good for Chelsea in the opening moments of the derby but were thwarted by the offside flag, however the Blues had begun with a good tempo to our play and although West Ham were getting forward too, there were signs our first-time passing could cause damage. After one such move, Remy had a right-foot shot from a tight angle saved by Adrian’s shin.  

It was the east Londoners who drew first blood however. A booking for Ivanovic for tripping Dimitri Payet just inside the Chelsea half was followed a minute later by the opening goal. John Mikel Obi did well to initially hold up an attack with a sliding challenge but Lanzini picked up the loose ball. From outside the area the Argentinian struck a rocket that cleared Courtois but had enough dip to make it under the crossbar.

That goal put the Hammers onto the front foot for the next few minutes, although enterprise from Azpilicueta and Kenedy won a corner as the Blues looked for a rapid response.  

From a West Ham corner, Cheikhou Kouyate caused concern with a downward header which thankfully dropped wide of the far post before, on our next advance into the Hammers’ area, we had a strong shout for a penalty turned down. Gary Cahill, up for the set-piece, sent the ball towards the target and it struck the upper arm of Enner Valencia. The Chelsea players, the majority of the crowd and the Chelsea bench were all convinced, but referee Robert Madley played on.

There was just under half-an-hour gone and despite being on the wrong side of that decision, it did seem to raise our level for the remainder of the half. The visitors were pushed deeper and Remy back-headed a Fabregas chip at goal but without the power or direction to beat Adrian.

West Ham counter-punched when Cresswell struck a diagonal shot that flew across our goal and wide via a touch off the sliding Ivanovic.

With five minutes to go to half-time, Willian curved a free-kick just a yard or two wide after Kenedy had been felled painfully.

Willian was involved in the next half-chance when he spotted Azpilicueta running behind Valencia and into the area. The long pass hit its target but the ball ran away from the Spaniard before he got his shot in.

There was still time for one more attack in the three added minutes and that came from Oscar, until his run was bodychecked by the returning Winston Reid. It was a similar spot to the earlier free-kick but this time Willian made way for Fabregas and what a wise decision that proved to be.

The strike was every bit as good as Lanzini’s and it found the top corner as if guided by a laser. 

Pedro was introduced at the start of the second half for Kenedy who had taken a big bash on the head. It was one of the other wingers on show, West Ham’s Payet, who had the first shot at goal after the resumption but Terry was back in front of goal to clear in time-honoured fashion.

Oscar may well have given his side the lead had he met an Ivanovic cross to the far post with his left rather than his right-foot and Terry headed a free-kick into the danger zone as the Blues went in search of the lead.

Ivanovic fired a low cross towards the near post this time and Pedro almost made it. This was a good 10 minutes for the Blues but then a mistake allowed Diafra Sakho to counter-attack and the visitors nearly capitalised. The ball was played on to the overlapping Aaron Cresswell who struck the underside of our bar.

Remy on the turn then forced a save from Adrian. It had become a very open game.

Unfortunately it was West Ham who took advantage and they did so with a diagonal ball from Payet that bisected the Chelsea defence, allowing Carroll to score only a minute after he had come on.

So Hiddink’s men needed to come from behind again with West Ham conceding free-kicks in their half as they kept us at bay. There was a booking for Kouyate for taking out Pedro on the left.

Fabregas might have scored his second of the game earlier than he did and an unlikely goal it would have been too but his header from a corner went over. He also went close with a bicycle kick after an Oscar volley was blocked. Then Terry thumped a header over from a Fabregas corner. It was suddenly raining Blues attempts on goal but there were only 15 minutes left to make them count.

Payet threatened again at the other end but only won a corner, although that did mean ammunition for Carroll. Courtois reacted quickly to save. There did look to be another goal in this game and Cahill joined the list of those who headed a corner close but not close enough.

Carroll could have wrapped it up with five minutes to go but didn’t make the most of a ball low across our goal and then had reason to curse Courtois who saved his header from the follow-up corner.

Traore had been brought on to make a difference up front but his biggest contribution was clearing another Carroll header off the line. It was another young substitute, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who made a run and was brought down by Michail Antonio for the penalty that brought about the equaliser with just two minutes left on the clock.

Fabregas stepped up, broke his run, but calmly slammed it home. 2-2.

There were late bookings as tempers rose in stoppage time and we needed Courtois to save a Payet free-kick to preserve the point, which could have been more but Loftus-Cheek fired the last chance of the game wide.

The final whistle ended an entertaining game as the Blues extend our unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge against West Ham to 12 games in all competitions.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Mikel, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar (Loftus-Cheek 84), Kenedy (Pedro h-t); Remy (Traore 62).
Unused subs Begovic, Baba, Matic, Pato.
Scorer Fabregas 45+2, 89
Ivanovic 16, Fabregas 90+2, Willian 90+2.

West Ham (4-3-3): Adrian; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Noble (c), Kouyate, Lanzini (Obiang 82); Valencia (Emenike 75), Sakho (Carroll 60), Payet.
Unused subs Randolph, Oxford, O'Brien, Song.
Scorers Lanzini 16, Carroll 62
Booked Reid 45+2, Ogbanna 45, Kouyate 64, Antonio 88, Adrian 89.

Referee Robert Madley
Crowd 41,623

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