West Ham United 0 – 4 Chelsea

Match reports

Sunday Times: “Three goals up within 22 minutes, reduced to 10 men after 34, Chelsea rose from the ashes of their Carling Cup final defeat to crush a disorganised West Ham.”

The Observer, Duncan Castles: “Grant’s first Premier League victory since January keeps his team nominally in contention for the title and may go some way to easing the concerns of Roman Abramovich as the owner spent the weekend in Russia on electoral duties. Whether it will reassure the Israeli’s players of his abilities as a top-tier manager, however, is a moot point.”

Sunday Telegraph, Roy Collins: “The Carling Cup may have gone, but Chelsea are still in a couple of little cup competitions called the FA Cup and Champions League and, on the basis of this win and another slip-up by Arsenal, they are right back in the title mix. They even looked like Arsenal at times.”

Independent on Sunday, Ronald Atkin: “There had been confident pre-match talk from West Ham sources about deepening Chelsea’s unhappiness but in the end it was simply another Hammer horror show to add to Chelsea’s impressive statistics against them: six wins in a row now, 17 scored and three conceded.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Andy Jones: “It is to date Grant’s biggest away win in the Premier League, and the perfect answer to those who have doubted the team over the past seven days.”

The goals

17′ Lampard (penalty) 0-1
20′ J. Cole 0-2
22′ Ballack 0-3
64′ A. Cole 0-4

The warm up

Crisis? What crisis?

Was last week or this week the aberration? I think last week and now normal service has been resumed for us and for Spurs. Add to this the joy of Arsenal dropping two points (so nearly three) and my mood improved so much that I rushed back from the pub, where I watched the game, to buy tickets for Barnsley away next week.

Presumably someone will write a post “Why Avram Grant must stay”? I think not. Despite Grant’s newly found street-fighting attitude unfortunately for him he lives in a one way street.

The match

Nicolas Anelka scored after only 90 seconds. Looked like a perfectly good goal but the linesman decided he was offside.

But we didn’t have to wait too long for our opener. Salomon Kalou, who looked sharp and fluid all afternoon, broke clear and was tackled clumsily by the lesser Ferdinand in the penalty area. It looked a bit dubious since it was right on the edge of the box and Kalou had lost control of the ball. Still Frank Lampard wasn’t complaining as he stepped up in front of the home fans, chanting “You fat bastard”, to send the keeper the wrong way for goal 102.

Not long later Joe Cole scored a great goal with a fierce shot across the face of the keep into the far corner.

Could it get any better than this? Only minutes later it did with a great move finished off by a fine strike from Michael Ballack. Five minutes of play provided more attacking and excitement than Liverpool, Olympiakos and Spurs combined.

In the first half Lampard was sent off after a scuffle with Luis Boa Morte. It was all handbags and nothing really happened and even a booking would have been harsh. The problem with the red card system is you can just as easily get a life sentence for shop lifting as murder. Still, even if we went down to eight men we weren’t going to lose this one. Hopefully the club will not appeal for Lampard’s ban to be increased from three games to four.

Second half and Claude Makelele committed a foul that could easily have earned a red. However it helps your case to be short, have a good reputation and go in with a broad smile as you stick your studs into the opponent’s shin.

West Ham did have one chance. A ball floated into our box and it was 70:30 in favour of their forward but this didn’t stop Petr Cech rushing off his line to try and intercept. The ball got chipped over Cech’s head and it looked a certain goal until John Terry flew in and acrobatically cleared off the line.

West Ham tried to get forward which allowed us to counter-attack and we looked the most likely to get the next goal. Eventually another goal arrived from an unlikely source: Ashley Cole. It wasn’t a set piece but open play so it begged the question that Cheryl’s been asking for the last few weeks, “What the hell were you doing up there?”

The warm down

Next time out against the Hammers we should rest the squad and start with only ten men.

With Lampard getting sent off this eases Grant’s selection problems for three games. Bizarrely we may be the first club ever that could benefit from picking up a few suspensions and injuries.

Don’t let this 4-0 win get in your way – back to blogging on why Grant must go.

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