Chelsea vs. West Ham United: Premier League Live Score, Highlights, Recap
Chelsea's midfield generals provided the means for a much-needed Blues victory as goals from Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard saw Rafa Benitez's men through to a 2-0 victory over West Ham.
Although the visitors created their share of attacking chances on the day, it's perhaps Chelsea that can be disappointed at not coming away with more goals in hand as they continue their pursuit of third spot.
Chelsea Starting XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, A.Cole, Luiz, Cahill, Ramires, Lampard (C), Mata, Moses, Hazard, Ba
Chelsea Subs: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Bertrand, Terry, Mikel, Oscar, Torres
Scorers: Lampard (19'), Hazard (50')
West Ham Starting XI: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Reid (c), Collins, O'Brien, O'Neil, Diame, Collison, Jarvis, Vaz Te, Carroll
West Ham Subs: Spiegel, McCartney, Pogatetz, Tomkins, Taylor, C.Cole, Chamakh
A fairly rudimentary win for Chelsea in the end as Michael Oliver blows up to signal the end of what was a very entertaining London derby.
The West Londoners could certainly have made more of their scoring opportunities with particular mention going to a wasteful Demba Ba.
In the end however, Rafa Benitez can be pleased with his side's performance in a very crowded portion of his team's calendar, as the Hammers are forced back across the nation's capital with their moods slightly stunted.
90'+2—CHE 2-0 WHU
One minute left of an added three and the hosts remain vigilant in their pursuit of these three points, currently pinning the visitors back in their own half.
90'—CHE 2-0 WHU
Chelsea refuse to relent here and it seems Jussi Jaaskelainen will not be given his break until the final whistle is blown.
Oscar is the latest to test the Finn, coming in of the left wing and blasting an awkwardly deflected shot right down the West Ham stopper's throat, fortunately for him.
87'—HUGE LAMPARD MISS!
Yet again, Chelsea break down the right flank and pulls a cross back along the floor of the West Ham box.
It's just behind Frank Lampard and while you'd expect the Chelsea veteran to pounce on these sorts of chances, he leans back just too far and skies his effort splendidly over Jaaskelainen's crossbar.
Should be 3-0 or more to the hosts.
Juan Mata's had his last input and Rafa Benitez attempts to see this result out by introducing midfield anchorman John Obi Mikel.
83'—CHE 2-0 WHU
Chelsea now resemble a predator toying with their prey as the likes of Mata, Oscar and Hazard maintain their confident standards, passing the ball about with ease on the edge of the opposition area.
Carlton Cole, meanwhile, has backed up that keen West Ham aerial assault, giving the Blues another thing to worry about at the back.
80'—SUBSTITUTION (West Ham)
Sam Allardyce takes off Ricardo Vaz Te in favour of Carlton Cole, a former Chelsea youth product.
79'—CHE 2-0 WHU
Demba Ba will want to put today's performance behind him after wasting another good goalscoring chance.
The striker finds himself coming in off the right flank with space between hime and Jussi Jaaskelainen but gives Winston Reid the chance to get back and block in time.
David Luiz signals to the bench and John Terry is thrown on in his place.
The former England captain should fare better with the aerial presence of Andy Carroll than Luiz has this afternoon.
76'—CHE 2-0 WHU
With 15 minutes left, Chelsea are just about in cruise control and some tactful link-up play between Mata and Hazard is unfortunate not to add to the hosts' lead.
John Terry may be introduced swiftly.
73'—YELLOW CARD (Demel)
Guy Demel follows his captain's example and fouls Eden Hazard to stop the Chelsea attack from progressing any further.
72'—CHE 2-0 WHU
It's Lampard that takes the free kick that came as a result of that caution and the Englishman absolutely thuds a deflected effort at the Hammers goal, which Jaaskelainen just about manages to hold onto.
71'—YELLOW CARD (Reid)
First yellow card of the day goes to Winston Reid after the West Ham skipper dragged Juan Mata back cynically in the hope of preventing a Chelsea attack.
Victor Moses is the man withdrawn from play in place of fellow attacking midfielder, Oscar.
69'—CHE 2-0 WHU
It looks like Oscar is warming up and will appear for Chelsea soon.
66'—CHE 2-0 WHU
Chelsea have gone off the boil slightly in recent minutes and are relying more on counter opportunities rather than taking it to the opposition.
The West London side are evidently wary of sacrificing any part of their two-goal lead but may need to hunt games like this down further if they're to obtain a top three finish.
64'—CHE 2-0 WHU
Thankfully so from a Chelsea fan's perspective, Matt Taylor hasn't been offering much in terms of pinpoint ammunition since coming on.
The former Bolton midfielder wastes three balls in a row after failing to get his crosses past the front post for two before then blazing a third effort way wide of the goal.
61'—SUBSTITUTION (West Ham)
James Collins comes off for James Tomkins and the Welshman looks slightly bemused as to just why he's being substituted.
60'—CHE 2-0 WHU
Matt Jarvis continues to provide some of the Hammers' best ammunition and Carroll is just unable to latch onto the former Wolves man's latest cross.
58'—CHE 2-0 WHU
Again the ball is sent into the air with West Ham going forward and again Andy Carroll presents a challenge to the Chelsea defence.
This time it's David Luiz that just about deals with the Englishman, but it's far from comfortably done.
Hazard in this form is a hint at what Joe Cole could, perhaps should, have been.— Will Tidey (@willtidey) March 17, 2013
54'—CHE 2-0 WHU
One might argue that having Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan in midfield would have made all the difference as far as today's visitors are concerned but thus is the substantial difference between the two squads.
Chelsea have built on Hazard's goal since doubling their lead to 2-0 with Andy Carroll having the only real chance for West Ham of late.
Just as we're singing Eden Hazard's praises, the attacker goes one better than skill and doubles Chelsea's lead with a confidently taken goal.
The winger links up with his teammates on the right before taking the ball right into the West Ham box. James Collins comes across to block an shot of the ball but the slightest dummy opens up space for Hazard, who belts low and hard to Jaaskelainen's left.
49'—CHE 1-0 WHU
Eden Hazard shows some ridiculous skill in a 20-second bout that sees the Belgian tiptoe his way around three players without losing control of the ball before showboating with a behind-the-leg cross.
46'—SUBSTITUTION (West Ham)
Mohamed Diame has come off at halftime in favour of Matt Taylor.
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