Chelsea replace head comeback at West Ham, but there are still holes for Thomas Tuchel’s men

Chelsea replace head comeback at West Ham, but there are still holes for Thomas Tuchel’s men

Chelsea replace head comeback at West Ham, but there are still holes for Thomas Tuchel’s men

It looked like another disappointing result was on the way for the Blues, but Ben Chilwell sparked a comeback for a 2-1 win over West Ham United. American Christian Pulisic started the game after almost leaving Stamford Bridge during the transfer window, but it was a substitute Kai Havertz whose star shone brightest of the attackers. As they played their third game in seven days, it was a rocky start to the game before an electric finish rocked West Ham.

The inclusion of Pulisic in the starting line-up seemed like a positive change ahead of the game, but he was unable to influence the game, take only one shot. In his first major playing time of the season, this was not the kind of performance that will convince Thomas Tuchel to play more often. Conor Gallagher similarly, in midfield, his return from suspension struggled with an anonymous performance. The duo were withdrawn in the 60th minute for Armando Broja and Mason Mount, but it was West Ham who took advantage of the confusion that ensued. After a corner kick Michael Antonio then bundled the ball over the line Declan Rice tapped it back across the target’s face. It was an ugly chaotic goal and Chelsea’s inability to clear their lines showed more of the defensive problems the Blues have experienced this season.

But Ben Chilwell comes to the rescue and may have reclaimed his starting spot after coming in for Marc Cucurella in the 72nd minute and immediately before that, just four minutes later, he assisted Havertz’ first goal of the season to put Chelsea ahead.

From there, service was central as Maxwel Cornet put the ball in the back of the net in the 89th minute but the equalizing goal was recalled after a VAR review. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy went to the ground, led and won the ball from Jarrod Bowen, whose trailing leg grazed Mendy as he interfered with the recumbent goalkeeper. The contact was minimal, but the result was big for West Ham as it was the difference between one point and no points.

It’s a situation where both players went for the ball, but it seems to be asking a lot of Bowen to get out of the way and avoid contact as Mendy’s plunge puts him between the attackers’ moving legs. It’s a situation where things look worse in slow motion and Mendy who did the smart thing and stayed on the floor sold the call.

While Chelsea secured all three points, the game threatened to turn the other way as the cracks were still visible. In fact, by expected goals, a visit to West Ham was best at 1.07 to Chelsea’s 0.83, although the hosts had eight shots to the Hammers’ six. With shots that are clearly in high demand, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will help the problem after you join Barcelona on the day of the deadline, but the problems with the ball’s progress in the midfield are more difficult to solve.

Tuchel could be more aggressive if N’Golo Kante is healthy but without him, Chelsea’s other signing deadline of the day Denis Zakaria has a big hole to fill. It was too easy for West Ham to go through the middle of the field, the space that Zakaria must protect when he enters. He will be a more conservative passer than Kante, but if he’s next to Chilwell, Chelsea shouldn’t be. have trouble making contact with the attacking three.

There isn’t much time for Tuchel to determine his best line-up, but after Saturday’s game, Pulisic is unlikely to be in attendance. He will have to fight when he gets more minutes off the bench, probably along with Gallagher, as the team gets used to the top four race in the Premier League already getting tight at the start of the season.

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