By Gary Watton
March 6 2017
A late strike in added-on time by Lanzini couldn't camouflage the gulf in class in this London derby between east and west. Chelsea, the apparent 'champions elect' went into cruise control early in the second half, after the master poacher Senor Costa had ghosted in between defenders to score from point blank range following a corner kick. This increased the tally to 39 goals this season from Chelsea's Spanish Armada quintet.
The visitors produced a peculiar performance. For the first 25 minutes they were unable to string four passes together. In fact their best effort in the early stages was probably running onto the pitch before kick off. Then, totally against the run of play, the away team mugged their hosts. Kante, who else, provided a trademark interception and then transformed defence into attack. Hazard exchanged passes with Pedro, and after the latter teed the former up with an inch perfect through ball, the Belgian magician danced through the defence and around the goalkeeper to open the goals account. Chelsea had various counter attacking opportunities thereafter, but it was ironically both goal scorers who were frequently the culprit when the enterprise came to a halt.
Funnily enough Costa was 'woeful' again - doing very little expect scoring, laugh out loud. Meanwhile Hazard veered from the brilliant to the ridiculous and back again within five seconds. It was that crazy. However what remained constant and consistent was the quality of the defence. Equipped with slightly superior defending to everyone else, this goes a long way towards explaining why Chelsea concede so little and counter punch so well.
West Ham United 1 CHELSEA 2; half time: 0-1
CHELSEA goal scorers: Hazard; Costa
CHELSEA team: Courtois; Azpilicueta; Luiz; Kante; Fabregas; Cahill; Alonso; Moses; Costa; Hazard; Pedro. Used substitutes: Matic; Willian; Zouma
CHELSEA leading scorers:
Costa eighteen goals
Hazard eleven goals (including two penalties)
Pedro eleven goals
Willian six goals
Batshuayi five goals (including one penalty)
Fabregas five goals
Alonso four goals
Cahill four goals
Moses four goals