Chelsea came from behind twice to ensure that West Ham United did not take away all three points from Stamford Bridge, striking a major blow to the Hammers’ top four ambitions.
Although Chelsea may not be in the running for a top four finish themselves, they can still have a major impact on the teams that are in contention. West Ham United needed a win at Stamford Bridge to overtake fourth-placed Manchester City. They went about their business quite adeptly, taking the lead twice through Manuel Lanzini and then Andy Carroll.
However, Cesc Fabregas and Chelsea played spoilsport, as the Spaniard scored from a free kick in first-half injury time and converted a penalty in the 89th minute to ensure that the Blues salvaged a point from the game.
After the match, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was very disappointed at the late penalty decision made by the referee.
“To concede a goal that late is gutting, and to concede it from a penalty that wasn’t a penalty is unacceptable,” he said, according to espnfc.
“I’m not talking whether he touched him, I’m talking about where the contact was made. And it wasn’t sliding, so it shouldn’t be difficult for the referee to see.”
His counterpart, Blues manager Guus Hiddink, thought it was the right decision and claimed it was a fair result.
“I thought it was on the line when he was tripped,” the Dutchman said.
“It was a very close call, but the line is part of the box. When there is any doubt, the benefit of the doubt should go to the attacking team.”
Chelsea unbeaten, Hammers unimpeded
The draw extended the Blues’ unbeaten streak in the Premier League to 14 games since interim manager Guus Hiddink took over Jose Mourinho’s beleaguered team in the middle of December. However, most of those games have been hard fought draws and their total points tally of 41 is less than impressive. They now languish in 10th position, far from where they would have envisioned themselves at the start of the season.
West Ham United have far exceeded their expectations though, and the draw brought them closer to fourth-placed Manchester City. The Hammers could yet pull off an upset and take a place among the top four this season. Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United among the top four would make this season of Premier League football one of the most memorable in its history.