ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
West Ham 1
LONDON • It might not be the most popular view but a performance like this suggests that, for West Ham, David Moyes is the right man at exactly the right time.
Three points against a Chelsea side in such convincing form were as invaluable as they were unexpected; most encouraging of all is that the 1-0 Premier League home victory yesterday was thoroughly deserved.
West Ham scored early through Marko Arnautovic and then took their lack of possession on the chin, only suffering sporadic moments of genuine alarm and showing a degree of rigour that had seemed beyond this set of players only a few weeks ago.
The fact that Arnautovic, a summer signing who had failed to score since his arrival from Stoke, made the decisive contribution may be seen as a success for Moyes, too. The Austrian forward was excellent, posing a menace from the off and capitalising on a flat-footed start from Chelsea to score a slickly worked winner in the sixth minute.
Moyes took charge of West Ham only early last month and has now recorded his first Premier League home victory in just under a year (Dec 17, 2016 when his Sunderland side beat Watford 1-0).
The win also ended his run of 11 successive league home games without a victory (W0 D5 L6).
It was no surprise that the Scot punched the air in delight after shaking hands with Blues manager Antonio Conte.
"The win, the spirit of the team, how they stuck together and more importantly a lot of the basics were done well today, all that really pleased me," Moyes told Sky Sports after the match. "Marko Arnautovic has been a good player. West Ham signed him to get goals and he has started to do that, but overall the team performance is what I am interested in.
"I would like to play like Chelsea - some of their football was stunning. I hope my team in the future here at West Ham will play like that."
For Chelsea - who were unbeaten in seven league matches before yesterday - they were at least dominant with 68 per cent possession of the ball. But, out of 19 shots they took, 16 were off target.
Conte's men have already dropped 16 points in their 16 Premier League games this season - they dropped only 21 in the whole of last season.
The frustration for Conte was his team's inability to turn territory into genuine chances. The lack of sharpness was endemic and the Italian blamed it on fatigue.
"When you lose a game you must be disappointed. It is normal," he told BBC Sport. "Our start was bad but today we played a bit tired."
The result left Chelsea 11 points behind runaway league leaders Manchester City and three behind second-placed Manchester United ahead of today's derby between the two Manchester clubs.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS