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Chelsea 1-0 West Ham United: Christian Pulisic scores late winner for hosts

Jorginho missed a penalty in the 87th minute
Jorginho missed a penalty in the 87th minute

Christian Pulisic’s 90th-minute winner helped save team-mate Jorginho’s blushes as Chelsea strengthened their grip on a top-four place with a late win over an understrength West Ham.

David Moyes rested six players before their Europa League semi-final on Thursday and it looked like they might hold on for a precious point when Jorginho’s woeful effort from the spot was saved by Lukasz Fabianski after 87 minutes.

But after Craig Dawson was sent off after a video assistant review (VAR) for fouling Romelu Lukaku in the build-up to the penalty, Pulisic turned the saviour as he tucked in Marcos Alonso’s low cross.

It sent Stamford Bridge into raptures after a frustrating afternoon that looked set to continue manager Thomas Tuchel’s poor form at home, with his side having lost their last three games.

But the victory sparked relief for him and his players as they recovered from their midweek defeat by Arsenal to move five points clear of the fourth-placed Gunners.

West Ham will be distraught they did not get anything from the game after a sterling display, with Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio all starting on the bench.

Dawson, who was otherwise excellent with a number of blocks, will also feel aggrieved as West Ham remain seventh, eight points behind Arsenal.

Stuttering Chelsea saved by Pulisic

Chelsea’s recent woes on the pitch have mirrored their uncertainty off it as the club waits for new owners to take charge and give it new direction.

Recent defensive problems, with the team having conceded 11 goals in their three previous home games, have not been helped by news that Antonio Rudiger is set to leave at the end of the season after failing to agree a new deal despite being offered a contract of more than £200,000 a week.

But this late victory gave Stamford Bridge a huge lift even if it looked as if Jorginho had thrown away Chelsea’s best chance when his under-hit penalty was easily gathered by the West Ham goalkeeper.

A clean sheet for the hosts was also welcome, particularly as they were without the injured Rudiger and Reece James, and forced into a late reshuffle when Andreas Christensen was replaced by Trevoh Chalobah, despite the Dane initially being named in the starting line-up.

James was missed in a lacklustre first half. Ruben Loftus-Cheek filled in at right wing-back but Chelsea could not penetrate West Ham’s defensive wall under the expert marshalling of the evergreen Mark Noble.

In front of another restricted crowd of 32,231 because of sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich, and with Lukaku back on the bench, there was little to rouse the crowd before the break with only an off-target effort by N’golo Kante coming anywhere close.

West Ham were happy to soak up the pressure and went closer to scoring through Andriy Yarmolenko and Said Benrahma, although the latter’s saved effort was deemed offside.

The first shot on target did not come until close to the hour mark, when the home fans finally got off their seats. Dawson brilliantly blocked Timo Werner’s effort before Kante and Chalobah had shots saved by Fabianski.

Tuchel also woke from a slumber to berate the officials after Rice was deemed to have been fouled shortly after coming on to replace Noble.

After Werner went close twice more, Tuchel made a triple substitution with Lukaku, Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech all coming on.

And it was not long before it made an impact. Lukaku was slipped through and pulled back by Dawson. Referee Michael Oliver awarded a penalty and a yellow card, but after a VAR review upgraded it to a red.

That looked like it would lead to a home win when Jorginho, normally so reliable from the spot, stepped up.

But his embarrassment was saved by Pulisic, who scored his seventh goal of the season from Alonso’s cut-back which made Tuchel and the fans punch the air in delight.

Player of the match

PulisicChristian Pulisic

Chelsea

  1. Squad number10Player namePulisic

  2. Squad number19Player nameMount

  3. Squad number7Player nameKanté

  4. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva

  5. Squad number11Player nameWerner

  6. Squad number3Player nameAlonso

  7. Squad number16Player nameMendy

  8. Squad number29Player nameHavertz

  9. Squad number22Player nameZiyech

  10. Squad number12Player nameLoftus-Cheek

  11. Squad number14Player nameChalobah

  12. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta

  13. Squad number9Player nameLukaku

  14. Squad number5Player nameJorginho

West Ham United

  1. Squad number1Player nameFabianski

  2. Squad number41Player nameRice

  3. Squad number3Player nameCresswell

  4. Squad number15Player nameDawson

  5. Squad number16Player nameNoble

  6. Squad number31Player nameJohnson

  7. Squad number7Player nameYarmolenko

  8. Squad number20Player nameBowen

  9. Squad number28Player nameSoucek

  10. Squad number5Player nameCoufal

  11. Squad number8Player nameFornals

  12. Squad number22Player nameBenrahma

  13. Squad number26Player nameMasuaku

  14. Squad number10Player nameLanzini

Line-ups

Chelsea

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 16Mendy
  • 14Chalobah
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 12Loftus-CheekSubstituted forZiyechat 76′minutes
  • 7Kanté
  • 5Jorginho
  • 3AlonsoBooked at 82mins
  • 19Mount
  • 29HavertzSubstituted forLukakuat 76′minutes
  • 11WernerSubstituted forPulisicat 76′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 9Lukaku
  • 10Pulisic
  • 17Saúl
  • 18Barkley
  • 22Ziyech
  • 23Kenedy
  • 31Sarr

West Ham

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Fabianski
  • 31Johnson
  • 15DawsonBooked at 86mins
  • 3Cresswell
  • 5Coufal
  • 28Soucek
  • 16NobleSubstituted forRiceat 62′minutes
  • 26Masuaku
  • 7YarmolenkoSubstituted forBowenat 73′minutes
  • 8Fornals
  • 22BenrahmaSubstituted forLanziniat 78′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Antonio
  • 10Lanzini
  • 11Vlasic
  • 13Areola
  • 20Bowen
  • 24Fredericks
  • 33Král
  • 41Rice
  • 42Alese

Referee:
Michael Oliver

Attendance:
32,231

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