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West Ham 1-3 Chelsea


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West Ham 1-3 Chelsea

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Michael Essien's brace and a Salomon Kalou strike gave Chelsea a deserved victory at West Ham to maintain their flawless start to the season.

Essien gave Chelsea an early lead when he converted a Didier Drogba corner after just two minutes, whilst Kalou doubled the lead when Matthew Upson's clearance comically hit the Ivorian and looped over the line after Robert Green had fumbled another Drogba delivery.

Essien made it 3-0 with his second of the game; heading home a brilliant cross from Paulo Ferreira, though Scott Parker scored a late consolation when his excellent volley lobbed Petr Cech after the Chelsea goalkeeper had failed to properly clear a West Ham corner. The Upton Park faithful might have had a second goal to celebrate late on but Frederic Piquionne incredibly hit the bar from a yard out.

The result means Chelsea maintain their two-point lead over Arsenal - 4-1 victors over Bolton at the Emirates - whilst their fourth win of the season means the Blues are now the only team in the country with a 100% league record.

With Manchester United conceding a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 at Goodison Park against Everton, there was an added incentive for the Blues to go out and get the win knowing three points would open up a four point advantage over their title rivals.

And Chelsea got off to the perfect start when Essien nodded home from close range after a mere 98 seconds to score his first goal for the club since his strike against APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League last December.

Whilst West Ham's supporters were again left lamenting woeful defending, Chelsea were cranking up the pressure and starting to enjoy their afternoon in East London. Having drawn 1-1 with the Hammers in last season's corresponding fixture, the early goal was an early boost for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

The best West Ham could conjure were two half-chances for Inter Milan loanee Victor Obinna, who first failed to test Cech with a shot that was skewed wide of the target and then ballooned a long-distance effort out for a Chelsea throw.

Meanwhile, Rob Green's career took yet another turn for the worse. Knowing full-well he will never live down his howler for England against the United States at the World Cup, he did little to help amend his damaged reputation when he spilled a harmless-looking Drogba free-kick that was moreorless straight at the former Norwich stopper.

Incredibly, the goalkeeper spilled the ball, and Matthew Upson's attempted clearance instead hit Kalou's heel as the Ivorian went to jump out of the way. In a moment of comedy gold, the bemused Chelsea forward looked on as Upson and Green - both grounded - exchanged a look of disbelief as the ball looped under the bar and in.

A rousing rendition of 'Bubbles' had earlier erupted from the West Ham faithful, but their hopes were now well and truly dashed as Chelsea - hardly out of first gear - had sauntered to a convincing lead with less than half an hour played.

Nigerian international duo Obinna and Mikel then both went close; Obinna curling wide after a dazzling run down the West Ham left, before Mikel smashed an effort off the corner of the woodwork as the holding player went close to his first ever Premier League goal.

He had only just fired over from a similar position, but besides his strike against the woodwork, chances were few and far-between for the champions, who seemed relatively happy to play out the remainder of the half - a rather Mourinho-like trait. But current Blues coach Ancelotti would have berated that decision had Carlton Cole's effort not been correctly ruled out for offside; Chelsea were playing a dangerous game but were fortunate their back four were all alert to the danger.

The second half was a competitive affair, but a prolonged lull in the action was complimented only by a burst of late goalmouth drama. Chelsea seemed to show renewed vigour early on after the interval, but this was short-lived as they were limited to a single chance for Ramires which was off-target. The quiet Drogba drew a decent save out of Green and Kalou curled wide but the Blues seemed contented with their two-goal lead; not necessarily a wise decision given United's earlier capitulation when in a similar position.

Ivanovic threatened when Drogba's freekick caused West Ham some problems but the hosts were encouraged by Chelsea's willingness to sit and defend. Needing no second invitation, the Hammers began to show a sense of urgency and it took some commanding defending from John Terry to clear a number of dangerous crosses as Carlton Cole suddenly became a focal point of an array of centres and long balls.

Gael Kakuta came on and impressed in his short cameo appearance; drilling one shot just wide whilst only a wayward Drogba touch and finish stopped the young Frenchman from making a telling contribution. Another Chelsea sub; Alex, was getting involved in the thick of the action and he was involved in the goal that clinched the game thanks to the forehead of Essien.

Mikel spread the play with a good pass to Ferreira who made no mistake in finding the marauding Ghanaian who finished with aplomb. Scott Parker reduced the deficit with a clever lob when a Cech punch fell to the ex-Chelsea man in space - his first-time effort lobbed the Chelsea goalkeeper as the Blues conceded their first league goal since April.

There was still time for Piquionne to record the miss of the season; heading Cole's flick against the bar from a yard out with Cech beaten - but Chelsea held on to continue their imperious start to the season.

___________________________________________________________________

West Ham - Green; Jacobsen, Ben-Haim, Upson ©, Ilunga; Parker, Behrami (Piquionne), Boa Morte (Dyer), Noble; Cole, Obinna

Chelsea - Cech; Ferreira , Ivanovic, Terry ©(Alex), Cole; Essien, Mikel, Ramires; Anelka (Kakuta), Drogba, Kalou (Malouda)

The TalkChelsea.net Man of the Match was Chelsea's number 5, Michael Essien

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An ugly win is a win but it looked like even Ancelotti wasn't satisfied.

Our midfield support was non-existent and I'm not sure if we can blame Ramires' inexperience.Our defense had a lot of work to do but stood up to the challenge every single time,they created few genuine chances and we conceded a goal only when JT got subbed.

I can't believe they got away with just 2 yellow cards,they were playing out of their skins and tried to bully most of our players.Parker was a tool as usual.

Our front 3 didn't really have a good game,Drogba had many glimpses of brilliance but he rarely did what he does best. Kakuta didn't get enough minutes to impress but he wasn't bad.

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Agreed, but think of it this way - we lost to Wigan and drew with Wet Spam last season; that means we're five points better off from last season's corresponding games.

oh it would never do to be positive ....remember our last game ...the final goal was scored by the opposition ,,Cech seriously at fault ...

he will never recover from that injury ,, oh and essiens goals were flukes ..he never scores with his head ,,,,and JT injured again ...and

dont mention kalou............

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