Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United claimed their first home point of the season when they drew 0-0 with Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea at London Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League, it was a match they would have been frustrated not to win, having missed golden opportunities. Here are five Massive Moments from the feisty London derby.
Antonio Fails To Break Deadlock
Our first Massive Moment came about just 29 minutes into the contest in Stratford and would be the first on an afternoon of many missed chances, both for the Hammers and the Blues.
Up until this point, any whiff of an attacking movement for the home side had come in the form of a break or a counter-attack, and this is how they would create their first real opening, and one of their best chances.
The skill of Brazilian club-record summer signing Felipe Anderson on the left side, saw him get into an excellent position, running at the Chelsea defence, with the chance to slip Michail Antonio clean through.
The pass was perfect and the ex-England man latched onto the pass, leaving himself bearing down on new visiting ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, he soon pulled the trigger with his left (weaker foot).
The ball went sailing over the crossbar and into the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, to the dismay of the Claret & Blue army and Antonio himself, replays showed that across Kepa would have been the best way to go, if he had done, Pellegrini’s men would have almost certainly broken the deadlock.
Antonio Can’t Beat Kepa From Point-Blank Range
Amazingly, it would take just two further minutes for our second Massive moment to rear its, ugly to West Ham fans, head, and it would heavily involve that man again, Mr Antonio.
This time, the chance that was presented to the 2016/2017 Hammer of the Year was much more straightforward, the hard bit had already been done by another player, and all he had to do was finish the job.
Youngster Declan Rice, enjoying his second match back in the starting Xl, won the ball back for the hosts in defence, looked up, and immediately spotted and picked out the run of Andriy Yarmolenko, perfectly.
In the home side’s second counter-attack in the space of three minutes, the Ukranian international, whose two goals helped the Irons defeat Everton for their first win of the season, last weekend, ran at and poked the ball past centre-back David Luiz.
Once again, the ball fell for the well-positioned Antonio, just yards out, he turned and struck it in frantic fashion, directly at the gloves of the ex-real Betis man, Kepa, a foot either side of him and it would have probably bulged the net, the Hammers were lift to grimace, once more.
Fabianski’s Heroics Deny Substitute Morata
Half-time had been and gone before it was time for our third Massive Moment, within the goalless stalemate, and it came with the first real clear-cut chance at the other end, the one Sarri’s boys were attacking.
Just after the hour-mark and Spanish International Alvaro Morata had been introduced, replacing Giroud, the former Real Madrid hitman has only two domestic goals this year and was about to show over 57,000 Cockneys, just why.
Having just missed the chance to stroke home an open goal after Hazard’s well-meaning but poor lay-off, moments earlier, Yarmolenko’s defensive incompetence, in trying to clear, however, accidentally directing the ball into danger, gave him that chance to finish.
Morata need only beat Lukasz Fabianski from close-range, without a single defender in sight, though, much like Antonio before him in that same box, he went straight at the ‘keeper and it rebounded out of danger.
The save was, in fact, a wonderful one from Fabianski, because it wasn’t his glove or any other part of his body that stopped the ball, it was his face and he needed treatment after, his braveness may well have saved his team a point, but there was much more to come.
Yarmolenko Misses Chance Of The Match For West Ham Win
While Fabianski was producing a Man of the Match performance at one end, up the other, after squandering two already, the home team were about to send one last guilt-edged opportunity, begging.
The introduction by Pellegrini, of Scotsman Robert Snodgrass in the 73rd-minute, replacing Anderson, in the wake of another impressive display by him, improved the Hammers’ delivery into the box, when they did manage to get forward.
It would be this improved quality of cross that led to the chance, which would fall for Yarmokenko, without Marko Arnautovic on the pitch, the man they would choose for it to fall to, after his match-winning performance, the previous weekend.
Pedro Obiang received a pass in the final third and laid the ball into the path of Snodgrass, he was now in a very good position and whipped a delightful left-footed delivery into the box, where Yarnolenko was waiting right under it.
Has run hadn’t been tracked by Marcos Alonso and with Kepa stranded, he only needed to get his simle header on target, nodding wide, to the pure shock of London stadium, had it gone in, there would have been a fair amount of controversy, due to an offside in the build-up, not that West Ham would have cared, they would have had three precious points.
Fabianski To The Rescue Yet Again
Meanwhile, enjoying their best spell of the game, in the final 30 minutes, the West Londoners were pushing and pushing for a winner, one that looked increasingly like it was going to come, sooner or later.
This leads us to our next and final Massive Moment, as it would be the heroics of Fabianski, not for the first time over the course of the 90 minutes, the only thing stopping them from leaving the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with three points.
The devastating Yatmolenko miss now firmly in the rear-view mirror, the Hammers were defending for their lives and had done very well, in doing so, very nearly having their entire work wiped out by one flash of brilliance.
The magic came at the end of another fluid Blues passing move and from another substitute, Ross Barkley, once of Everton, with the clock ticking over into stoppage-time, he lined up a shot on the edge of the area.
And it was an accurate one, too, Fabianski could only lunge to his left and hope for the best, stretching his left hand out as far as it would go and getting a magnificent fingertip, to push the ball away for a corner, from which, nothing came, the East Londoners ended the day with a lot of reasons to thank the Polish Inrernational and Man of the Match.
So, now that all the key Massive Moments from another positive afternoon for Pellegrini and his team in East London, will we have yet more positove points to draw on, come Thursday afternoon? After Macclesfield Town have visited London Stadium in the Carabao Cup? Join us once again, then, to find out.