West Ham United’s surprise quest for a top-four spot was dealt a crushing blow on Saturday afternoon as they were narrowly defeated by local rivals Chelsea at the London Stadium.
The visitors moved three points clear in fourth place and now the Irons have defending champions Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on their tail.
It was a big chance for David Moyes’ side to prove to the rest of the top-flight that they are genuine contenders for a Champions League berth and not merely a one-season wonder team that has been enjoying a purple patch.
Overall, the Hammers did give a good account of themselves but the Blues did dominate possession (56%) and they had way more chances (17 shots), so the scoreline could’ve been far greater on another day.
In the absence of a striker, the 58-year-old opted with a two-pronged attack of Jesse Lingard and Jarrod Bowen, leaving Said Benrahma on the bench.
The duo, particularly the latter, struggled to combat Chelsea’s back three and as a result, this is what cost them on the night.
Bowen managed to fire off just one of West Ham’s nine attempts all game, whilst he lost 12 of his duels (75%), which only emphasises how ineffective and weak he was against the likes of Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger.
From just 43 touches, Bowen was wasteful too, as he lost possession 14 times – meaning he handed the ball back to the visitors once every 6.4 minutes, and once every three touches, as per SofaScore.
‘West Ham’s furthest player forward but the striker was way too separated from his teammates and failed to have a big impact in the first half,’ wrote Tom Clark. ‘The second half continued in the same vein for Bowen as he struggled to get into the game.’
All in all, Bowen massively let his manager and his side down and he’ll have to do a far better job in the absence of Michail Antonio if the Irons are to make it into Europe.
AND in other news, GSB could find West Ham’s next Defoe in £26m-rated “goal machine”…