September 23, 2023

Michail Antonio downs ‘sorry’ Chelsea to give 10-man Hammers victory

August 20, 2023

Chelsea manager, Mauricio Pochettino suffered his first loss on Sunday at West Ham thanks to Michail Antonio’s outstanding goal and Enzo Fernandez’s missed penalty.

Pochettino’s team wasted a vibrant effort in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool as a result of shoddy defence and wasteful finishing at the London Stadium.

After the break, Antonio scored West Ham’s second and most important goal, and Lucas Paqueta added a late penalty to leave Pochettino still without a Premier League victory since taking over in the offseason.

West Ham’s early goal by Nayef Aguerd was cancelled out by a stunning first-half goal from Chelsea teenager Carney Chukwuemeka.

But the turning point came when Fernandez’s penalty was saved by Alphonse Areola just before the break.

Antonio netted soon after the interval and Chelsea couldn’t respond despite Aguerd’s dismissal for a second booking midway through the half.

Paqueta, reportedly the subject of an FA probe into betting breaches, applied the knockout blow in the final seconds.

Dating back to last season, Chelsea have won just five times in 31 league matches, while their only victory in their last 14 top-flight games came at Bournemouth in May.

They have also lost four successive top-flight London derbies for the first time since 1990.

The two managers that came before Pochettino, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard, toiled through a difficult season that resulted in Chelsea’s worst finish since 1996, and they bear a large portion of the responsibility for those dreadful statistics.

Pochettino has been given the duty of cleaning up the mess, but the team is still a work in progress despite recent additions Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, bringing Chelsea’s total spending under owner Todd Boehly to more over £850 million ($1.08 billion).

Putting his faith in a largely youthful team is a gamble from Pochettino, whose side’s lack of experience was exposed in the seventh minute.

James Ward-Prowse’s corner was whipped to the far post, where Morocco defender Aguerd easily evaded Conor Gallagher and Chukwuemeka to nod home from six yards.

Ward-Prowse has 25 assists from set-plays since making his Premier League debut in 2012, second only to Christian Eriksen in the league during that time.

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