Timo Werner gave Chelsea a 1-0 away win over West Ham as Thomas Tuchel’s side took a giant step towards finishing in the top four.
The German coach made six changes to the team that drew 0-0 against Brighton on Tuesday night with Michail Antonio, Aaron Cresswell and Declan Rice all missing for West Ham through injury.
Both struggled to create much in the first half, but Werner gave Chelsea the lead just two minutes from the break, side-footing a finish into the back of the net after being set up by Ben Chilwell down the left.
Timo Werner of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their sides first goal with team mate Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Ben Chillwell during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea at London Stadium on April 24, 2021 in London
Image credit: Getty Images
Werner spurned a golden opportunity to double his, and Chelsea’s, advantage in the second half, sticking a shot on the rebound wide of the post after Mason Mount had a long-range strike saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
Jesse Lingard came close to equalising with a lobbed effort, but West Ham were reduced to 10 men when VAR was used to send off Fabian Balbuena who followed through on Chilwell after clearing a ball.
This handed a numerical advantage to Chelsea who saw out a win that moves them three points ahead of West Ham in fourth place, edging them closer to Champions League qualification.
TALKING POINT - Are West Ham finally losing momentum in top four challenge?
Back-to-back defeats have seen West Ham tumble out of the top four with three points now between Davies Moyes’ team and Chelsea. Injuries have hit the Hammers hard, with Antonio, Cresswell and Rice all missing for this one and it’s starting to feel like they might come up short in their challenge for Champions League football. They are losing momentum at the wrong time, although their run-in over the next five fixtures is somewhat kinder than that of their rivals. It might not be over yet, but West Ham must improve on what they produced against Chelsea.
Antonio Ruediger of Chelsea and Issa Diop of West Ham United interact following the Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea at London Stadium on April 24, 2021 in London, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Timo Werner (Chelsea)
His detractors will say Werner should have finished this match with two goals rather than just one, spurning a sitter in the second half, but the German was the biggest difference between the two teams. He gave Chelsea an outlet in behind. The majority of their attacking play flowed through the former RB Leipzig forward who also scored what proved to be the winner from a Chilwell cut back. There are signs that Werner is becoming one of Tuchel’s most important players.
Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Chelsea at The London Stadium, in east London on April 24, 2021. -
Chelsea - Mendy 6, Azpilicueta 7, Chilwell 8, Christensen 6, Silva 7, Rudiger 7, Jorginho 6, Kante 7, Mount 8, Pulisic 6, Werner 8. Subs - James 4, Ziyech 6, Abraham 3.
43’ GOAL! West Ham 0-1 Chelsea: A huge goal for Chelsea and it's Werner who grabs it! Chilwell was released down the left side, he cut back the ball for Werner and the German forward finished first-time into the back of the net! His first goal for Chelsea since February 15!
54’ Werner should score! Mount takes aim from the edge of the box, Fabianski makes a wonderful save, the ball falls to Werner, but the German sticks his shot on the rebound wide of the post!
Timo Werner has been directly involved in 20 goals for Chelsea this season (11 goals, nine assists), more than any player for the club (all competitions).
Fabian Balbuena became the first West Ham player to be sent off against Chelsea in the Premier League since Paolo Di Canio in January 2002.