West Ham 3-1 Chelsea: Two positive and a whole lot of negatives

Chelsea (Photo by Nigel French/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)
Chelsea (Photo by Nigel French/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images) /
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Chelsea (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /


Toothless in possession

Chelsea did not create nearly enough quality chances against West Ham United, despite having 76% of the ball and completing 88% of their passes. In all of these, the Blues got one clear-cut chance, which was the penalty. The expected goals numbers read as 2.49 for Chelsea, or 0.15 xG per shot, for 17 shots taken.

Removing the penalty makes it 1.7 xG at 0.11 xG/shot, for 16 shots. This of course applies to West Ham too, because they also had a penalty, and removing their outlier (pen), makes their own 0.09 xG/shot. The point stands because Pochettino’s men got into very good positions, but no big chance came from them, and after spending £872m on a squad, this is unacceptable.

Enzo Fernandez: Fell short in decisive moments

Fernandez had a generally good game, but goals change games and no player gets a better chance to score than a penalty. First of all, he was near a non-factor defensively, which, for a pivot player, is poor. He passed the ball well, but his ball retention was not good. He counts as a negative though, because for whatever reason, he stepped up to take the penalty that could have given Chelsea the lead, and he missed it.

It was a bad penalty too. The best players come out top in decisive moments, and he should have scored that pen. His penalty miss makes ironic, the point that penalty goals should be paid less attention when evaluating forwards, this is because goals decide momentum, and a penalty goal does the same thing to a game that a non-penalty goal does.

The back line: Stretched too easily

It cannot be overemphasized how unacceptable it is that West Ham’s second and third goals happened. The second goal was ridiculous because Michail Antonio ran past Thiago Silva, out muscled…eh, spun Levi Colwill, and made Axel Disasi, the covering centerback, a non-factor. The fact that Disasi was covering centerback was doubly ridiculous because he played at right centerback, which is strange for someone who’s covering.

If he wasn’t intended from the get-go to be the covering centerback, it makes it all the more comical. When West Ham went down to 10 men, they got even more joy in Chelsea’s final third, which is incredibly baffling, and reflects critically on the centerbacks on the day, as well as the midfield, but there were more centerbacks than central midfielders.