Premier League - Chelsea lose ground on leaders as Hammers hold firm

Premier League, Stamford Bridge - Chelsea 0 West Ham 0

Chelsea lost valuable ground on leaders Manchester City as a resolute West Ham defence earned a valuable draw for the relegation candidates.

As expected, the hosts dominated the match in terms of possession, Oscar going closest to breaking the deadlock by hitting the bar in the opening half as Adrian was made to work hard in the West Ham goal.

The visitors were not without chances of their own, both James Tomkins and Andy Carroll squandering good scoring opportunities. But Chelsea always looked the more likely and the introduction of Frank Lampard almost snatched all three points, Adrian denying the midfielder a last gasp winner and his sixth in as many matches against his former club with a fine save.

There was also late controversy as Samuel Eto’o had the ball in the net after Adrian turned his back to take a free-kick, but the referee’s whistle had already gone.

The result means that Chelsea stay third, three points behind new leaders and their next opponents Manchester City, who thumped Tottenham 5-1 away. West Ham stay third from bottom, a point above Cardiff City after becoming the first team to keep a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.

KEY MOMENTS

PRE MATCH: Sam Allardyce hands bench spots to new on loan Italian signings Antonio Nocerino and Marco Borriello.

5’ – PENALTY SHOUT FOR WEST HAM: Downing’s cross finds Carroll at the back post. He chests it down and turns inside Azpilicueta and there’s contact. Carroll goes down but referee Neil Swarbrick is unmoved.

8’ – CHELSEA HIT THE WOODWORK: Willian crosses to Oscar and his curling effort is touched onto the bar and behind by Adrian. Good save.

11’ – GOOD SAVE CECH: Downing whips in a free-kick and Tomkins heads towards the far corner. It’s creeping in before Cech palms it into Nolan and behind for a goal kick.

26’ – BIZARRE INJURY FOR DIAME: He chases a long ball and mistimes his kick to keep it in, instead clattering over the advertising hoardings and into the Chelsea fans. He eventually scrambles clear but hobbles off five minutes later with a suspected thigh and calf problem.

44’ – GREAT SAVE ADRIAN: The Hammers keeper keeps the scores level by saving Terry’s point blank header with his legs from Willian’s corner.

45+3’ – ETO’O FORCES A GOOD SAVE: Oscar’s shot falls at his feet and his snap shot is well bundles behind from Adrian.

60’ – CARROLL SPURNS GLORIOUS CHANCE: The big man has a great chance to open the scoring from Downing’s cross but swings at air instead of making the net bulge.

64’ – LAMPARD NEARLY SCORES WITH FIRST TOUCH: Willian sets him up buy Taylor dives in to block his shot.

72’ – LAMPARD CLOSE AGAIN: He cuts inside Taylor but the defender recovers to make another excellent block.

90+3’ – BA HITS THE POST: Hazard crosses it in and the striker diverts against the foot of the post.

90+4’ – ETO’O GOAL RULED OUT: He puts the ball in the back of the net as Adrian’s back is turned but the referee had already blown for a free-kick.

90+5’ - GREAT SAVE ADRIAN: He denies Lampard a goal from the last kick with a key save.

KEY STATS

Chelsea have won 12 and lost just one of the last 16 Premier League meetings with the Hammers.

Chelsea failed to score for the first time in their last 21 games at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea dropped only their third point of the season at home.

West Ham became the first side to keep a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge this season.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND PLAYER RATINGS

TALKING POINT: Did Eto’o score at the death? The Chelsea players surrounded the referee at the full-time whistle as Eto’o thought he’s won it with another of his opportunistic goals. But it was clear the whistle had gone before Adrian turned his back to take the free-kick.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Matthew Taylor (West Ham): Put in a heroic defence effort in the middle of the park and it was easy to lose count of the countless goal saving blocks he put in as he flung his body on the line again and again. A superhuman effort.

PLAYER RATINGS

Chelsea: Cech 6; Ivanovic 6, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Azpilicueta 5; Ramires 7, Mikel 6; Willian 6, Oscar 6, Hazard 7; Eto’o 6. Subs: Matic 6, Lampard 7, Ba 6

West Ham: Adrian 7, Demel 6, Tomkins 7, Collins 6, O'Brien 7, Noble 7, Taylor 8, Nolan 6 , Downing 6, Diame 6, Carroll 6. Subs: Jarvis 7, Nocerino 6, C.Cole 6.

MATCH IN A TWEET