Talking Points from Chelsea 2-0 West Ham- The Genius that is Eden Hazard, WHUFC formation and more!

West Ham put in a much improved show on Monday night against Chelsea, but their struggles on the road continued as Eden Hazard’s double helped the Blues pick up a 2-0 win and jump to third in the league table. Let’s take a look at our talking points from the game.

A 10/10 performance from Chelsea’s No.10: Big players often win you games. Eden Hazard was virtually untouchable here, making a mockery of the Hammers defence with a fantastic solo goal for Chelsea’s first, and an accurate finish on 90 minutes for the second. It wasn’t just scoring- some of his passes, to the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Callum Hudson-Odoi, were simply delicious, and on another day Chelsea might have been 3 or 4-0 up at half time.

If Chelsea didn’t have Hazard here, West Ham might have even managed to come away with a point from Stamford Bridge. Their performance wasn’t too bad, but Hazard was at another level, and even as an opposition supporter, you had to doff your hat to the little Belgian.

Performances like this will only drive up his fee for a potential transfer to Real Madrid in the summer.

West Ham’s tactics: Manuel Pellegrini started this game with a 4-2-3-1 that had Marko Arnautovic on the right wing and Javier Hernandez on his own upfront. Later in the first half, Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson swapped wings, with Pellegrini perhaps concerned at the Brazilian’s reluctance to track back, which resulted in plenty of space being afforded to Azpi and Hudson-Odoi down Chelsea’s right flank.

At half time, Hernandez was withdrawn for Robert Snodgrass and Arnautovic took the Mexican’s place upfront as the Hammers switched to a 4-1-4-1, a formation that saw them being a bigger threat in the second half. Rudiger and Luiz weren’t threatened by Hernandez, but had their hands full tackling Arnautovic after the interval.

Hernandez has his strengths, but probably being the sole striker in games where the Hammers need some physicality, is not one of them.

There were also two big setbacks to Pellegrini- Michail Antonio was supposed to start, but injured himself before the game. Samir Nasri was supposed to come on at half time, but injured himself while warming up! Just West Ham things!

Better Arnautovic: This was probably one of Marko Arnautovic’s best performances since the January transfer saga. Perhaps lucky to get away with fouling Hazard in the box in the first half (Azpi’s foul on Snodgrass probably cancelled it out), but he was a big reason for West Ham causing some worries to Maurizio Sarri after the interval.

Declan Rice probably had one of his rare off-days. He was decent, but second best in his battle wit Loftus-Cheek on several occasions.

Return of Fabian Balbuena: It was great to see the Paraguayan back- we’ve been calling for his return for a while now, but we thought he’d come in for Ogbonna rather than Issa Diop, who was benched for the first time after having played every minute of every game that he’s featured in the Hammers campaign so far. Ogbonna didn’t cover himself in glory for the first Hazard goal, but Balbuena will not look back too fondly on that either.

WHUFC starting lineup vs Chelsea 2019

When West Ham don’t score, they lose: Perhaps self- explanatory, but West Ham have now lost 11 games in a row in the Premier League without scoring. The last time they didn’t score, but managed a result, was in that 0-0 draw against this very Chelsea side at the London Stadium.

Chelsea playing through Rudiger more than Luiz: When you talk of ball-playing centre backs, David Luiz is one name that automatically comes to mind, but the Brazilian didn’t appear to be used much on Monday night. Instead Chelsea preferred most of their moves to start with Antonio Rudiger. The German had 64 passes in the game, while Luiz had just 18. Was it a conscious strategy from Sarri to use Luiz less?

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