Chelsea take the spoils

A Salomon Kalou goal just after half-time was the difference between the sides as Chelsea left east London with three points on Saturday.

After a fairly incident-free first half, Kalou opened the scoring shortly after the restart when he bundled home a loose ball. West Ham United had their chances to get back into the game - most notably through Mark Noble's saved spot kick - but could not force their way back into the game.

West Ham's side saw one change from the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa seven days previously. Kieron Dyer came in to make his first start since August 2007 in central midfield, with Lucas Neill dropping back into his more familiar right-back slot. Calf injury victim James Collins was the player to miss out. Chelsea called up John Mikel Obi, Kalou, Juliano Belletti and Michael Mancienne into their starting XI.

West Ham went into the game having not conceded a goal at home for four hours and 58 minutes and they safely passed the five hour mark as, bar a few half-chances which excellent tackles from Neill and Matthew Upson thwarted, there was little goalmouth action in the opening period.

Indeed, the Hammers' first chance of the match arrived in the 16th minute when a perfect chipped ball forward from Neill nearly put Tristan in on with a clear sight on goal. Chelsea had a first opening of their own moments later when Florent Malouda flashed a shot just wide of Robert Green's far post.

Dyer then nearly marked his return to the side with the opening goal after Tristan played a delicious through ball to put the No7 through one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Sadly, his shot was just too close to Petr Cech, who gratefully gathered the ball in.

Two minutes before half time, the home side were to go even closer to taking the lead. Mark Noble drifted in a corner and a combination of James Tomkins and Upson forced the ball back to Tristan. The Spaniard managed to help the ball goalwards and just as the Bobby Moore Stand collectively got to its feet to mark what seemed to be the game's opening goal, Mikel intervened to hack the ball off the line. There was just still time in the first 45 minutes for Junior Stanislas to test Cech with a 25-yard free-kick as the Hammers finished the half on top.

Chelsea came out of the blocks strongly after the interval, however, and took the lead ten minutes after the break. A good run and cross by Lampard was only palmed away by Green as far as Kalou, who prodded the rebound into the roof of the net.

The Blues made the game's first change when Bosingwa left the field in the 58th minute for Ashley Cole. Seconds later, Neill sent a lop tantalisingly over Cech's crossbar before Zola made his first changes of the game, bringing on Freddie Sears and Radoslav Kovac for Di Michele and Dyer - who had enjoyed an encouraging hour long run-out on his full return.

Chelsea could, and probably should, have made it two when Anelka raced through but Green narrowed the angle saved well. Minutes after, Cole combined well to put Malouda in space on the left and his fierce shot clipped the crossbar before going over.

West Ham then had a great chance to restore parity with 20 minutes remaining as Kalou tugged bag Ilunga in the box and referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Noble's spot kick was low and hard, but Cech flung himself to the left to push the ball around the post.

Zola made his final change by bringing on Savio for Boa Morte, before Stanislas was booked for a foul on Lampard. Green was called into action by the Chelsea midfielder shortly after as he hit a fearsome free-kick goalwards, which the West Ham stopper had to be alert to tip over the bar.

Mr Dean announced five minutes of added time to give the home support among the 34,749 inside the Boleyn Ground hope. But despite plenty of pressure and a long-range drive from Noble, Chelsea held on to take the points back across London.

West Ham should be buoyed by their efforts and were unfortunate not to get anything from the game. They will be looking for better luck when they seek to get their push for seventh back on track with the trip to Stoke City next weekend.