Chelsea 2-1 West Ham: Lessons learnt by PoL

Jarrod Bowen of West Ham United 'fouls' Edouard Mendy of Chelsea (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Jarrod Bowen of West Ham United 'fouls' Edouard Mendy of Chelsea (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /
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Jarrod Bowen of West Ham United ‘fouls’ Edouard Mendy of Chelsea (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /

Chelsea took on West Ham United at home as Thomas Tuchel’s side looked to bounce back from their disappointing midweek defeat to Southampton.

Despite five changes being made to the team that started against the Saints, Tuchel’s men once again struggled to create anything of purpose throughout large parts of the game. It was, in truth, an incredibly boring match to watch and, barring two moments of brilliance from Chilwell, was a performance that could have and should have resulted in more dropped points. Nevertheless, the Blues (looking at you, Reece James and Edouard Mendy) rode their luck to come out as the unlikely winners of the contest. Here are the lessons learnt from CFC 2-1 West Ham.

Poor Selection Choices

First of all, simply to set the stage, it is important to recognise that the Blues were incredibly poor on the day. This was a team that looked lethargic, out-of-sorts and seemingly unencumbered by the fact that they had just lost in humiliating fashion to a Southampton side that many have earmarked to be relegation candidates this season. The problems began immediately with the starting eleven.

The decision to start with a front two of Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling was bizarre, to say the least. Standing at 1.77m and 1.70m respectively, and having to come up against a West Ham side characterised by their height and physicality, it should hardly be any surprise that Chelsea were unable to establish any presence within the opposition box.

This was a weakness that was made even more obvious every time James or Marc Cucurella chose to put hanging crosses into the box. Moreover, with West Ham opting to sit deeper and hit Chelsea on the break, Sterling and Pulisic did not have the necessary space in behind to exploit. It was a frankly puzzling state of affairs and the team’s offensive play constantly fizzled out into nothingness as a consequence.

Considering that Kai Havertz is out of form, it was understandable that Tuchel would have wanted to switch things up post-Southampton. However, the decision to leave out both Havertz and Armando Broja did not pay any dividends for reasons that should have been known to the German coach. Tuchel has a variety of attacking options to choose from and he has to learn to play them to their strengths if he is to have any chance of bring the best out of the Chelsea’s offensive players.