The Premier League’s early kick-off on Saturday yielded a first goal for his new loan club for Joao Felix but ended in a third straight draw for the Blues.

The lively Joao Felix found the net early in the game, a goal created by a maiden Chelsea assist from the impressive Enzo Fernandez, but former Blue Emerson Palmieri levelled before half-time.

That we were not ahead at the interval was regretful. As well as the Joao Felix goal, Graham Potter’s reshaped side had the ball in the net on two further occasions but the goals were ruled out for offside.

While the visitors from west London looked dangerous, West Ham had only truly threatened for a spell midway through the opening period, but that had yielded the equaliser.

The second half was devoid of clear-cut chances for a winner and this time it was West Ham’s turn to have a goal ruled out for offside. That was a VAR intervention but in a big moment of controversy at the end, another check made after a late Conor Gallagher shot struck the arm of Tomas Soucek inside the penalty area did not go our way.

The selection

Five of the January arrivals were named in the starting line-up. The defence was unchanged from keeping a clean sheet at home to Fulham in our previous outing. Overall there were three changes from that game, with Joao Felix, Noni Madueke and Ruben Loftus-Cheek coming in. Thiago Silva, fresh from signing a new contract yesterday, captained the side.

Starting well

Chelsea came here seeking a first away win since late October. West Ham started the day one point above the relegation zone. It goes without saying both sides were eager for victory in this always keenly contest London derby.

The Blues shaped up with the returning Joao Felix at the front of a midfield triangle, and Enzo and Loftus-Cheek, playing his first game since before the World Cup, fielded deeper.

Showing fluidity in that formation, Joao Felix sent Loftus-Cheek on an early run towards the Hammers goal with a perfectly waited pass but the recipient was crowded out.

Joao Felix then had the ball in the net inside 10 minutes after his initial effort came back to him off the post, but he had been offside when Reece James played the defence-splitting pass.

With the next opportunity however, the Portuguese international timed his run to perfection. When Enzo took a return pass from Marc Cucurella and lifted the ball over the Hammers’ backline, Joao Felix was clear to side-foot the ball sweetly into the net. 1-0 up with just 16 minutes played.

Unfortunately we returned to the offside calls not going in the visitors’ favour not long after when Havertz found the target. It was Mykhailo Mudryk who was denied a quality assist.

Old boy makes it one-one

West Ham were looking open at the back but frustrating, they found a way back into the game.

Midway through the half, Kepa had to block when Michail Antonio turned a cross goalwards from close range, the Irons’ first dangerous attack.

However as with the Chelsea goal and Joao Felix’s attempt just before it, that escape for the Blues proved to be a warning shot. Moments later, an unchallenged Vladimir Coufal cross from the West Ham right was flicked on by Jarrod Bowen and Emerson was at the far post to score, his slightly scuffed shot possibly helping him in getting it past Kepa.

Our goalkeeper’s opposite number Lukasz Fabianski dived to save a well-struck shot from Noni Madueke before keeping out a Joao Felix free-kick. Since the equaliser, Chelsea had again showed good signs we could penetrate the home team’s rearguard through the likes of Mudryk and Joao Felix, but the teams went in at half-time level.

Second-period stalemate

The attacks from both sides ebbed and flowed in the early stages of the second half. Mudryk could not keep the ball under control when it fell his way unexpectedly close to goal, however Chelsea began to exert a grip on the game with an hour played.

Potter made a triple change at the same time Moyes swapped two. Our players on were Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount and for his 100th Chelsea game, Hakim Ziyech.

Chilwell was quickly into the attack to win a corner but defences were still on top. West Ham fans cried for a penalty after Benoit Badiashile dealt strongly with one of their forays forward but there was nothing doing.

With quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Chilwell crossed but a marked Havertz headed wide at the near post. A lovely James pass gave Mount the opportunity to square but a West Ham boot was first to the ball.

No late winner but late controversy

This fixture has a history of late goals. Would we see a decisive one today?

It looked like we had to the Blues detriment when Soucek hit the target after Kepa had saved from Declan Rice, but VAR came to our rescue with an offside decision at the original free-kick.

In the game’s final big moment, big questions are bound to be asked about why another review did not overturn the ref's decision when Gallagher fired a shot in low and it clearly hit the grounded arm of Soucek, well inside the West Ham box.

The Chelsea players appealed vociferously, but play headed on to the final whistle.

What's next?

After a three-month gap the Champions League is back. Chelsea are in Germany on Wednesday to take on Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of our round of 16 knockout tie.

Chelsea (4-3-3):Kepa; James, Thiago Silva (c), Badiashile, Cucurella (Chilwell 67); Loftus-Cheek (Gallagher 79), Joao Felix, Enzo; Madueke (Mount 67), Havertz, Mudryk (Ziyech 67).

Unused subs Bettinelli, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Chukwuemeka, D Fofana.

Scorer Joao Felix 17

Booked Badiashile 64

West Ham (3-4-2-1):Fabianski; Kehrer, Ogbonna, Aguerd (Johnson 80); Coufal, Paqueta (Soucek 14), Rice (c), Emerson; Bowen, Benrahma (Downes 67); Antonio (Ings 67).

Unused subs Hegyi, Anang, Lanzini, Fornals.

Scorer Emerson 28

Booked Coufal 56

Referee Craig Pawson.