West Ham march into last eight with superb win over Chelsea
PUBLISHED: 21:53 26 October 2016 | UPDATED: 21:53 26 October 2016
The Hammers made the London Stadium rock with a deserved victory to give Chelsea the Blues
West Ham United 2 Chelsea 1
The Hammers home-sickness finally seems to be subsiding as they made it back-to-back wins at the London Stadium to secure their place in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.
Cheikhou Kouyaté’s early header put West Ham United on course for the last eight, before Edimilson Fernandes struck his first goal for the club on 47 minutes to seal a richly-deserved victory over the well-beaten Blues, who grabbed a late, late consolation through Gary Cahill.
Successive victories over Crystal Palace and Sunderland had left the Hammers in 15th place in the Premier League and, following his side’s 1-0 win over the Black Cats on Saturday, Slaven Bilić made just two changes for this tie.
Cup-keeper Darren Randolph came in for Adrián, while Aaron Cresswell returned from suspension in place of substitute Simone Zaza as Michail Antonio was asked to go it alone up front.
But the Hammers top-scorer was destined to see little of the ball in the early exchanges given the Blues had the best chances to break the deadlock with John Terry diverting Willian’s corner over at the near post, before N’Golo Kanté burst into the area where he forced the orange-shirted Randolph to tango him with a brilliant and telling parry.
Certainly, there had nothing special about the Special One’s return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Chelsea swept away José Mourinho’s Manchester United with a formidable 4-0 victory that lifted the Blues into the Champions League places.
But Antonio Conté had still made changes as Terry, Willian, Asmir Begović, Ola Aina, Oscar, Michy Batshuayi and Nathaniel Chalobah each came into the starting line-up.
Just as the visitors were looking like they had absorbed those seven new faces seamlessly into the fold, though, the Hammers struck with an 11th-minute opener.
Collecting the ball on the left side of midfield, skipper Mark Noble curled an inch-perfect centre on to the head of Kouyaté, who got in front of the statuesque Terry to send a looping, 18-yarder beyond the groping glove of Begovic and inside the keeper’s left-hand post.
The claret and blue contingent in the crowd of 45,957 roared with approval and, with Chelsea now knocked out of their confident early stride, Bilć’s boys almost claimed their second.
This time, Manuel Lanzini carved out an opening for dancing Dimitri Payet who tumbled in Kanté’s shadow but, with the challenge going unpunished to ball still found its way to Antonio, who sent a low 12-yarder just an inch or so past the base of the right-hand upright.
Pedro Obiang and an ambitious Antonio barely troubled Begović with long-rangers, while Chalobah went a lot closer from distance but the alert Randolph tipped the rising shot over the top at the expense of a corner.
With half-an-hour on the clock, West Ham were looking fluid and fluent and when Antonio easily glided past all £34m-worth of the lumbering Luiz, his low ball into the danger zone was scuffed wide of the far post by Lanzini, who would surely have found it easier to score.
In reply, Batshuayi turned in the area, where the well-placed Randolph smothered at the near post, while back at the other end Terry’s clumsy foul on the ever-threatening Antonio invited Payet to try an audacious in-swinging free-kick from the left touchline, which Begović brilliantly clawed out from underneath his crossbar.
And the Chelsea keeper produced another fine stop to scoop the ball away from the base of his right-hand post after Obiang launched a dipping 25-yarder that looked set to double the Hammers advantage.
But, as an entertaining opening 45 minutes drew to a close, the Blues should have levelled but Batshuayi wastefully slid over the top and Oscar prodded wide to keep West Ham’s lead intact at the interval.
Heeding those late let-offs, the Hammers wasted no time taking the tie to Chelsea after the break, as Antonio superbly picked out the breaking Payet, whose run into the area took him a little too wide and his angled shot looped off Begović’s knees and high into the Stratford sky.
Still the danger was not clear, though, and with Oscar and then Kanté failing to despatch the ball upfield, Noble found himself in possession. The skipper patiently stroked a square ball into the path of Fenrnandes, who arrived like an express train down the left flank to send a low, angled 20-yarder steaming past Begović and into the bottom left-hand corner.
Now two goals to the good two minutes into the second period, those claret and blue shirts still pressed as Antonio saw his shot deflected over before Noble drilled just inches wide.
That was the cue for Diego Costa to replace Batshuayi ahead of the Chalobah making way for Eden Hazard, who soon felt the studs of the consequently booked Noble. Pedro also came on for Aina, while in the home dug-out, Sofiane Feghouli switched with Fernandes, who left to hearty Hammers applause.
With more attacking impetus, Chelsea pushed forward and Oscar flicked into the side netting, while Willian scuffed beyond the far post before Winston Reid was curiously cautioned for his challenge on Costa even though the Spaniard had simply trodden on the ball.
On 77 minutes, the fit-again Andre Ayew stepped from the bench to replace Lanzini for a long-awaited home debut after ironically injuring himself in the season curtain-raiser at Stamford Bridge and he wasted no time heading Payet’s deep cross inches behind.
Ayew then cleverly back-heeled into the path of fellow substitute Zaza, who was foiled as he shaped to shoot and with Costa then missing a great chance to set up an interesting late finale.
But by the time Gary Cahill bundled home a stoppage-time consolation after Kouyaté had been booked for pulling back Luiz in the dying seconds, the Hammers were more concerned about who they would meet in that quarter-final draw.
HAMMERS: Randolph, Fernandes (Feghouli 66), Cresswell, Reid, Ogbonna, Noble, Obiang, Kouyaté, Lanzini (Ayew 77), Payet, Antonio (Zaza 81). Unused subs: Adrián, Nordtveit, Collins, Fletcher.
BLUES: Begović, Azpilicueta, Aina (Pedro 66), Cahill, Terry, Luiz, Kanté, Willian, Chalobah (Hazard 63), Oscar, Batshuayi (Costa 55). Unused: Eduardo, Alonso, Matić, Solanke.
Booked: Noble (63), Reid (75), Kouyaté (90+4)
Referee: Craig Pawson