Four things we loved about West Ham United's win over Chelsea!

Four things we loved about West Ham United's win over Chelsea!

1. Areola’s big performance

West Ham United were on the ropes in the minutes leading up to half-time, as Chelsea piled on the pressure after Carney Chukwuemeka’s well-struck equalizer had cancelled out Nayef Aguerd’s early header.

And it appeared the Blues’ dominance would be rewarded when Raheem Sterling’s run into the home penalty area was halted by Tomáš Souček’s foul challenge and referee John Brooks pointed to the spot.

As it happened, a delay while VAR Paul Tierney checked whether the challenge had occurred inside or outside the box allowed Alphonse Areola to clear his thoughts, and Chelsea penalty-taker Enzo Fernández to be clouded in his.

And so, after converting a perfect five penalties out of five for former club River Plate, the Argentina midfielder was unable to beat his fellow FIFA World Cup winner from 12 yards, as Areola dived to his right to save.

The France stopper was not done, either as, after Michail Antonio had slammed the Irons into the lead, Areola plunged to his left to miraculously keep out Noni Madueke’s deflected shot as it headed for the bottom corner.


2. JWP’s dream debut

If you are being endlessly praised for your set-piece delivery following the first transfer of your career, the best thing you can do is provide an assist from a set piece inside seven minutes of your debut.

That is exactly what James Ward-Prowse did following his move up the M3 from Southampton, whipping in a delicious corner for Nayef Aguerd to head in at the far post.

West Ham’s new No7 doubled down, too, showing his prowess from open play with a lofted through ball which Michail Antonio ran onto and scored the hosts’ match-winning second goal from.

When you factor in Ward-Prowse also completed 95.8% of his passes, made two tackles, three clearances, an interception and blocked a Chelsea shot, you can see why the 29-year-old described his day as a ‘dream’.


3. Antonio, Antonio, Antonio!

The first half was not Michail Antonio’s finest in a West Ham United shirt for, after 45 minutes, the No9 had registered just five touches and one completed pass.

The second half was among the centre-forward’s finest in a West Ham shirt, as the 33-year-old produced a performance to remember.

Not only did Antonio score a fantastic goal, latching onto James Ward-Prowse’s pass, holding off Levi Colwill and slamming past Robert Sánchez, but he used all his trademark attributes to batter the Blues’ backline and help his team earn vital territory and breathing space, before and after Nayef Aguerd’s 67th-minute sending-off.

Antonio’s goal was his 62nd in the Premier League, extending his Club record, and his 76th in total.

Have the Hammers ever spent a better £7m than they did to bring him to east London back in September 2015?


4. A sunny day of celebration

Before kick-off, the Claret and Blue Army were entertained by the Romford Drum & Trumpet Corps, who ignored the 80-degree temperatures to play a set of traditional tunes.

The sunlight gleamed off the instruments, as it did off the UEFA Europa Conference League trophy, sat proudly on a Claret pitchside plinth.

That trophy, of course, had been won on a balmy night in Prague 74 days previously, on 7 June – a date nobody inside London Stadium will ever forget.

As the teams emerged from the tunnel, thousands of fans in the Billy Bonds Stand rose to form a mosaic showing the Club’s first major trophy won in 43 years, while 60,000 stood together and sang a deafening chorus of ‘Bubbles’.

Of course, we will not win a trophy every year, but on Sunday West Ham United could celebrate not just a big Premier League derby win over Chelsea, but remember an achievement that will live on in the memories of every Hammer.


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