Chelsea 5-0 West Ham: 3 Blues talking points

Chelsea bolstered their prospects of clinching European football next season by comfortably defeating West Ham at Stamford Bridge. The Blues ascended to seventh place, setting their sights on Newcastle, who are currently two points ahead in sixth, occupying the final Europa League spot
Chelsea FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Chelsea FC v West Ham United - Premier League / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages
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Cole Palmer started the scoring in the 15th minute with a sublime finish following a bright start from the hosts. By the half-hour mark, the score stood at 2-0, courtesy of Conor Gallagher's exceptional volley, leaving Alphonse Areola helpless in the Hammers' goal. Just six minutes later, the Blues extended their lead to 3-0. Noni Madueke nodded in from close range after a towering header from Silva, setting up the winger perfectly.

Early in the second half, Chelsea made it four. Nicolas Jackson calmly tapped the ball into an empty net following an unselfish assist from Madueke, who broke through the West Ham defense. Jackson then secured his second goal of the game, making it 5-0 in the 80th minute after a VAR check, sealing a dominant performance for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The return of a familiar shape

The in-possession 3-2-5, or 3-2-2-3 shape, whatever you would like to call it, that Pochettino refined during preseason, proved to be a significant success last summer, remaining unbeaten and even securing a small trophy along the way—a formula that seemed destined for continued success heading into the new campaign, right? Well, not quite and we’re still not quite sure why. Despite a strong showing against Liverpool on the opening matchday last August, the team's style fluctuated from game to game, resulting in inconsistent outcomes. The main issue with reverting to the "U-shape" tactic from Pochettino's past was its tendency to overemphasize the wings, leaving Moises Caicedo isolated in midfield, struggling to cover the entire pitch alone, which notably impacted his performance. It wasn't until recently that we witnessed the resurgence of the classic 2-5-3 formation, notably in the second half at Villa Park when CFC found themselves 2-0 down and managed to salvage a point.