LONDON – Chelsea returned to winning ways on Monday (Dec 21), overcoming a nervy spell to beat West Ham 3-0 and reignite their challenge for a Premier League top-four place after consecutive defeats.
West Ham proved tricky opponents at an empty Stamford Bridge but lacked the firepower to respond to Thiago Silva’s early goal before two late strikes in the space of two minutes from Tammy Abraham killed the contest.
Frank Lampard’s team enjoyed a strong start to the season before losses to Everton and Wolves checked their progress but victory at the London Stadium lifts them into fifth position.
Champions Liverpool have opened up a five-point gap at the top of the table but behind them, just seven points separate second-placed Leicester from 11th-placed Wolves.
West Ham had the ball in the net in the seventh minute after a cleverly worked free kick but Declan Rice was denied by the off-side flag after a cute finish from a tight angle.
Three minutes later Chelsea were in front when Silva powered home a bullet header from Mason Mount’s corner.
The Brazilian found the net from close range after a well-timed run, giving West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski no chance.
Chelsea enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession after their goal without creating much of note but West Ham established more of a foothold as the half wore on.
Timo Werner had a golden chance to double Chelsea’s lead in the closing minutes of the first period but got the ball caught under his feet and Fabianski saved comfortably.
West Ham made life uncomfortable for Chelsea after the break but did not have enough of a cutting edge to hurt their opponents.
Abraham made it 2-0 with 12 minutes to go to settle Chelsea’s nerves.
Werner cut inside and saw his weak shot tapped in by the England international, who was played onside by Aaron Cresswell.
Two minutes later Chelsea made it 3-0 when Abraham fired home after Fabianski had kept out Christian Pulisic’s header.
Earlier, Burnley beat Wolves 2-1 to climb out of the Premier League’s relegation zone, thanks to goals from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood.