Chelsea were denied a late penalty as they were held 1-1 by West Ham at the London Stadium leaving their top four hopes in tatters.
Conor Gallagher’s low shot hit Tomas Soucek in the hand as the West Ham midfielder slipped in an attempt to make a block in the 88th minute, but referee Craig Pawson overruled their appeal and there was no VAR intervention.
Earlier, Graham Potter’s new side got off to a strong start and looked like they could bring the hosts a punishing afternoon as January signings Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix combined for Chelsea’s first goal (16) after returning from suspension.
But West Ham weathered the early storm and took advantage of Chelsea’s defense when Jarrod Bowen headed home Vladimir Coufal’s cross, allowing the unheralded Emerson to make it back (28) against his former club.
‘The most visible punishment you will ever see’
Sue Smith on Football Saturday:
“I don’t know why this wasn’t given as a penalty. What I can think of is that, when the player falls to the ground, the player puts his hand on the ground to take care of himself.
“But Soucek puts his hand out to stop the ball. It’s the most obvious penalty you’ll see. I’m surprised it wasn’t awarded.”
Chelsea, who have kept a clean sheet in their last two games, struggled to break down their opponents after that and West Ham thought they had won late on when Soucek fired in from close range, but VAR ruled it was off target.
But the real deal was to come when Chelsea were denied a penalty despite Gallagher’s best effort, hitting the edge of the box and hitting the Czech Republic defender on the hand, Potter jokingly describing it as a “good save” in his post. -match press conference.
The draw leaves the Blues in ninth place, nine points behind fourth-placed Newcastle, and piles the pressure on Potter. West Ham, meanwhile, will remain 15th and extend their unbeaten run to four games in all competitions.
West Ham: Fabianski (7), Kehrer (7), Ogbonna (7), Aguerd (7), Coufal (7), Rice (7), Paqueta (6), Emerson (8), Bowen (7), Antonio (6), Benjamin (6).
Subscribers: Soucek (6), Downes (6), Ings (6), Johnson (6).
Chelsea: Kepa (6), James (7), Badiashile (7), Thiago Silva (7), Cucurella (6), Fernandez (7), Loftus-Cheek (7), Madueke (6), Mudryk (6), Havertz ( 6), Felix (8).
Subscribers: Ziyech (6), Chilwell (6), Mount (6), Gallagher (6).
Player of the game: Joao Felix
How disappointed Chelsea were
Chelsea went into the game having failed to score after three hours of Premier League action, but it looked like they could click early at the London Stadium.
- Joao Felix returned to the Chelsea team, replacing Mason Mount, while Noni Madueke and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also started.
- West Ham boss David Moyes has named an unchanged squad from the 1-1 draw with Newcastle, with Tomas Soucek also on the bench.
In fact, Felix had already had the ball in the net once before the opener, seeing an effort go unmarked due to a run after West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta was caught with what was thought to be a broken shoulder.
Paqueta replaced Soucek and Chelsea’s breakthrough came shortly after the switch, with Felix finding time and space to convert from Fernandez’s teasing cross.
Chelsea looked like they could run away with it at that point, with their new form of Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and Kai Havertz combining dangerously as Fernandez pulled the strings in midfield.
Havertz had another goal disallowed after a smart finish from Mudryk’s pass, but West Ham held on and punished Chelsea’s defense to level when Emerson popped up at the far post to beat his former club.
West Ham went close, when Michail Antonio’s move from Bowen’s cross was blocked by Kepa Arrizabalaga, but Chelsea created another chance before the break, Madueke forcing a save from Lukasz Fabianski.
Rather than picking up where he left off, however, Chelsea’s threats faded, with Felix unable to match his first-half display and West Ham flourishing.
Potter’s side created few chances, with Reece James’ strike flashing over Antonio’s head, and Havertz heading into the middle with substitute Ben Chilwell.
But West Ham held firm and the London Stadium broke into celebration as Soucek scored a free-kick after Declan Rice’s early effort, only for a late VAR review to confirm the goal was offside.
There was no such VAR check at Chelsea, however, and Gallagher’s effort caught Soucek’s hand, with goalkeeper Pawson reeling and forcing Potter and his players to re-establish the goal.
Chelsea caught up too – Opta figures
- Chelsea have won three consecutive games in the Premier League for the first time since February 2012, under Andre Villas-Boas.
- There was no shot on target in the second half between West Ham and Chelsea, the second Premier League game without a half this season, after Southampton vs Nottingham Forest in January.
- West Ham’s Emerson became the first player to score his first Premier League goal for the club against Chelsea when he appeared for the Blues in the competition since Frank Lampard at Man City in September 2014.
- Joao Felix became the 12th different player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League this season, no team has had more in 2022-2023 (apart from their own goals).
West Ham have another London derby next week when they visit Tottenham Sunday 19 February; from 4.30pm, continue Sky Sports.
Chelsea face Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday 15 February – from 8pm – before they take part. Southampton return to the Premier League on Saturday 18 February; from 3 pm.