Chelsea’s Ramires said his side was in a state of euphoria following their Capital One Cup victory, and that feeling certainly carried over into the Blues 1-0 Premier League victory over West Ham United on Wednesday at Upton Park.
Jose Mourinho kept his mark against West Ham unblemished while Chelsea maintained their five-point lead over Manchester City on the domestic table, in the face of City’s 2-0 win over Leicester. The Blues also extended their streak without a loss to seven straight, the last coming against Tottenham on Jan. 1.
Earning some much needed rest, Chelsea will likely carry their confidence into next week’s crucial second leg against Paris Saint-Germain in Champions League play at Stamford Bridge.
West Ham and manager Sam Allardyce continued their Premier League plight and are now winless in their last six matches, failing to gain some ground on Swansea while staying in ninth on the table.
The Blues opened up the scoring in the 22nd minute, with midfielder Eden Hazard recording his 10th goal and Ramires his fourth assist. After Hazard fed him the ball at the top of the West Ham penalty area, Cesc Fabregas worked a tight angle to Ramires on the right wing and the Brazilian struck a perfect ball to Hazard for the point-blank range header and the 1-0 lead. It was Hazard’s first goal since the 2-1 away victory over Aston Villa.
The Hammers didn’t just lay down to Chelsea’s onslaught though, and tested keeper Thibaut Courtois for much of the match. Forward and leading West Ham scorer Diafra Sakho registered three of the squad’s five shots on target, and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate the other, but Courtois turned back all for five total saves on the day.
Forward Enner Valencia nearly got on the board in the 72nd minute, striking a ball into the heart of the penalty box and Sakho recovering for the rebound, but defender Gary Cahill helped Courtois thwart what appeared to be a surefire equalizer.
But it’s not likely Chelsea went unscathed against West Ham. Hazard was booked during extra time in the second half for a misguided tackle from behind of Hammers midfielder Kevin Nolan.
Meanwhile, Blues defender John Terry was issued a yellow card for the first time this season in the 15th minute for shoving Valencia in the back in order to stop a fastbreak attempt by the Hammers. Fabregas would also earn the ninth yellow of his term.