Late Yar­molenko strike stuns Chelsea and pulls West Ham out of mire

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Matt Law Foot­ball news cor­re­spon­dent at the Lon­don Sta­dium

When David Moyes re­placed Jar­rod Bowen with An­driy Yar­molenko with 12 min­utes of this game re­main­ing, it looked for all the world that he had sur­ren­dered West Ham United’s best chance of clinch­ing the most valu­able of three points.

Bowen, along with Michail An­to­nio, had been a con­stant men­ace to the Chelsea de­fence and had set up both of West Ham’s goals to that point. Yar­molenko, on the other hand, had not scored a West Ham goal since Septem­ber and had looked any­thing but a match-win­ner in his last cameo per­for­mance in the de­feat by Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers.

But the way in which the Ukrainian took An­to­nio’s 89th-minute pass in his stride and kept his cool to beat Chelsea’s unin­spir­ing goal­keeper Kepa Ar­riz­a­bal­aga sug­gested Moyes had known ex­actly what he was do­ing.

West Ham have now moved three points clear of the rel­e­ga­tion zone with a more favourable run of fix­tures to come. And if West Ham se­cure their sur­vival, then the six points they have taken against Chelsea this sea­son will rank as their best re­sults of the sea­son.

An­to­nio, play­ing as a makeshift striker, ter­rorised Chelsea’s de­fen­sive duo of An­to­nio Rudi­ger and An­dreas Chris­tensen all evening and had Rudi­ger rat­tled from the mo­ment he burst past him and Mar­cos Alonso inside the area be­fore drag­ging a shot wide.

Bowen, the im­pres­sive Jan­uary sign­ing, was just as dan­ger­ous with his di­rect and in­tel­li­gent wing play, com­bined with his well-de­liv­ered set-pieces.

was from a Bowen cor­ner that To­mas Soucek thought he had given West Ham a 34th-minute lead, only for the goal to be ruled out by Var, which judged An­to­nio had been ly­ing in an off­side po­si­tion. The tech­nol­ogy got Kepa off the hook, as the Spa­niard was nowhere to be seen, but he was not so lucky later in the first half.

West Ham’s feel­ing of in­jus­tice was height­ened eight min­utes later, when Chelsea un­de­servedly went ahead from the penalty spot.

Chris­tian Pulisic, who had missed an ear­lier chance, burst into the area and tempted Issa Diop into a stupid chal­lenge. Wil­lian duly dis­patched the ball into the net.

That should have been the cue for West Ham heads to drop, but the home side hit back in first-half stop­page time from an­other cor­ner.

Kepa was once again in no-man’sland when Bowen sent his cor­ner to the back post and this time Var did not need to be called on, as Soucek rose above Ce­sar Azpilicuet­a and headed the ball into the net.

Frank Lam­pard, the Chelsea head coach, al­ready had mis­giv­ings over Kepa and this per­for­mance may well have made his mind up on whether he needs a new goal­keeper.

Lam­pard re­sisted the temp­ta­tion to make changes at the break, but he was soon look­ing to his bench after Chelsea fell be­hind in the 51st minute. This time Kepa could not be blamed, but ques­tions will be asked of Rudi­ger and Chris­tensen as the pair switched off when An­to­nio fell to the ground and ap­pealed for a penalty just inside the area.

The shouts were ig­nored, but so to was Bowen as An­to­nio rose to his feet to con­vert the winger’s cross.

Chelsea had looked flat in at­tack, but an­other burst of pace from Pulisic al­lowed Wil­lian once again to beat Fabi­an­ski with a set-piece with 18 min­utes re­main­ing. It will not have been lost on Lam­pard that the Brazil­ian has now scored three times since sign­ing his tem­po­rary con­tract ex­ten­sion.

De­clan Rice brought Pulisic down 20 yards from goal and Wil­lian’s free-kick struck the inside of a post be­fore the ball nes­tled into the net to draw Chelsea level.

Many would have judged the de­ci­sion to re­place Bowen, who had also set up a chance for Manuel Lanzini, with Yar­molenko as the ac­tions of a des­per­ate man and yet it proved an in­spired move from Moyes.

As Chelsea poured for­wards in search of a win­ner, the home team broke and An­to­nio swept the ball out to Yar­molenko, who did the rest. Lam­pard slumped back in his chair, Moyes danced for joy and Baroness Brady clapped her ap­proval from the empty stands.

tion and di­rectly in the line of vi­sion of goal­keeper Kepa Ar­riz­a­bal­aga.

Moyes was clearly in­censed, and his mood dark­ened even fur­ther when Wil­lian gave Chelsea the lead just a few mo­ments later from the penalty spot.

How­ever, a Soucek header just be­fore half-time drew West Ham level, and after An­to­nio and Wil­lian traded sec­ond-half goals, a late An­driy Yar­molenko win­ner lifted West Ham three points clear of the drop zone.

Asked whether his play­ers had been fired by a sense of in­jus­tice fol­low­ing the VAR in­ci­dent, Moyes replied: “I was. I was spew­ing. I felt an­gry at the time. I felt too many small de­ci­sions were go­ing against us. But I’ve got to say the boys never al­lowed it to af­fect us.

“There’s noth­ing you can do. You hope that some­where along the road, with the hand­ball against Sh­effield United, the de­ci­sion at Tot­ten­ham, the one tonight, that some­thing might go for you. But at the mo­ment, cer­tainly not in my time, I can’t re­mem­ber one go­ing for us with the VAR.”

West Ham have 30 points with six games of the sea­son re­main­ing, in­clud­ing three against teams be­low them in Nor­wich, Wat­ford and As­ton Villa. Moyes, who said he was de­lighted with the com­pe­ti­tion de­vel­op­ing be­tween a fit-again Yar­molenko and Jar­rod Bowen, said 40 points was now the tar­get.

“One win is not enough,” he said. “It’s only one win and we have to win more if we’re go­ing to re­main a Premier League club. But it was an out­stand­ing re­sult for us and an out­stand­ing per­for­mance from the play­ers.”

Frank Lam­pard, mean­while, said his Chelsea play­ers needed to de­velop a stronger men­tal­ity if they were to com­pete with the likes of Liver­pool and Manch­ester City. With Leicester los­ing at Ever­ton, Chelsea had the op­por­tu­nity to go third with vic­tory. “I think it’s some­thing that’s hap­pened a few times this sea­son,” Lam­pard said. “We’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to jump teams. The rea­son we’re chas­ing teams like Liver­pool and Man City is be­cause of that [men­tal­ity].”

Ham­mer blow: An­driy Yar­molenko beats Chelsea’s An­to­nio Rudi­ger with the win­ner

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