Chelsea drop first points

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

CHELSEA dropped their first Premier League points after a frus­trat­ing Lon­don derby at West Ham.

The vis­i­tors en­joyed 71% of pos­ses­sion at Lon­don Sta­dium, but failed to score for the first time this sea­son.

De­spite see­ing lit­tle of the ball, West Ham had the best chance to win it as Robert Sn­od­grass picked out the un­marked An­driy Yar­molenko on 78 min­utes, but the Ukrainian sent his header wide.

Sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute Al­varo Mo­rata al­most made an in­stant im­pact for Chelsea, but he was un­able to steer the ball past Lukasz Fabi­an­ski from close range, as the Blues missed their chance to keep pace with league lead­ers Liver­pool.

Mau­r­izio Sarri’s men re­main third after Manch­ester City won on Satur­day, while Manuel Pel­le­grini’s Ham­mers side stay in 17th.

Eden Haz­ard has been in mag­nif­i­cent form for Chelsea this sea­son, ex­em­pli­fied by the su­perb hat-trick that in­spired vic­tory after they fell be­hind to Cardiff City at Stam­ford Bridge.

Yes­ter­day, the bril­liant Bel­gian was kept in check by West Ham and con­se­quently the Blues’ threat was hugely re­duced, with winger Pe­dro in­jured and striker Olivier Giroud on the pe­riph­ery.

Chelsea’s best chance fell to the feet of sub­sti­tute Mo­rata after he re­placed Giroud in the 65th minute, but he was thwarted by the brav­ery of Fabi­an­ski.

It summed up the vis­i­tors’ frus­tra­tion as their 100% win­ning start came to an end in a per­for­mance that was flat and lack­ing in en­ergy, per­haps un­der­stand­able after Thurs­day’s trip to Greece to face PAOK in the Europa League.

Ross Barkley al­most snatched it late on with a long-range ef­fort that brought an­other ex­cel­lent save low to his left from Fabi­an­ski, but this was not a Chelsea dis­play that de­served three points.

The Blues re­main un­de­feated un­der Sarri in com­pet­i­tive ac­tion and, de­spite the dropped points here, this still rep­re­sents a sat­is­fac­tory start for the Ital­ian.

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