Late-match goals sent shock waves permeating through Upton Park on Saturday, as West Ham scored three second-half goals to shock Chelsea, 3-1, and get a critical three points in the table.
As has been the case throughout Rafael Benitez's short run atop the Blues, a complete lack of aggression came back to haunt Chelsea.
After getting on the board with an early goal by Juan Mata in the 11th minute, Chelsea seemed satisfied to play the possession game and stick back on the attack. The Blues finished the first half in fine form using that strategy, going into the break ahead, 1-0.
Unfortunately, there was a second 45 minutes to be played, and that's when things fell apart for the struggling squad.
A goal from Carlton Cole in the 63rd minute injected lifeblood into the Irons, and from then on they seemed to have all of the momentum. From that goal forward, West Ham seemed to be constantly on the attack, while Chelsea was trying to hang on for dear life.
Just when it seemed like the Blues were going to get their wish, substitutes Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga used their fresh legs and found the back of the net for West Ham.
For the fans' part, they certainly were not shy with their displeasure. The Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter noted a particular sign that paid homage to departed manager Roberto di Matteo while showing distaste for Benitez's managerial tactics:
#cfc fans holding up banner reading: "Di Matteo Chelsea legend. FACT. Rafa Chelsea Reject"— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) December 1, 2012
TalkSPORT's Andy Goldstein echoed the fans' sentiments in a tweet of his own, saying di Matteo would have certainly done a better job than Benitez:
Oh dear. Chelsea. What have u done. Can't help thinking DiMatteo would have got more than 2 points from those 3 games.— Andy Goldstein MBE(@andygoldstein05) December 1, 2012
Saturday's loss simply continues Chelsea's downward spiral. The club is now in danger of falling out of top four in the table and is winless in its last seven Premier League matches, its largest such run since 1994-95, according to ESPN's Paul Carr:
Chelsea is winless in 7 straight league games, the club’s longest winless league streak since 1994-95.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) December 1, 2012
West Ham, on the other hand, has to be nothing but pleased with its effort.
Coming in as an underdog and defeating Chelsea is one thing. But to get three points in the table all while kicking a struggling Blues team while it's down has to feel nice.
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