Chelsea made light work of West Ham at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday night, dispatching their London rivals 3-0 in a one-sided encounter that gave Hammers fans little to cheer.
Frank Lampard, playing against his former club, put Chelsea ahead from the penalty spot on 21 minutes, after goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen felled Oscar.
Some might claim Jaaskelainen was lucky to stay on the pitch—the West Ham keeper having denied Oscar a clear goalscoring opportunity—but he escaped with a yellow.
Lampard ensured Chelsea were suitably rewarded with an emphatic strike into the top corner.
Chelsea doubled their lead 10 minutes before the break. Oscar picked up possession inside the West Ham half, glided forward and drove a low shot into the bottom corner. It was a goal of real class, but the Brazilian made it look easy.
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce feared a rout and wasn't about to stand by to watch it happen. He made the bold step of making two substitutions before halftime—replacing Joe Cole and Jack Collison—and presumably gave his team a roasting at the break.
To their credit, West Ham emerged for the second half with greater purpose and should have pulled a goal back after fine work from full-back Guy Demel on the right. He beat two players before squaring for Modibo Maiga in space—only to see the striker miss the target from six yards out.
That was as close as they'd come.
Lampard made sure of Chelsea's win with a trademark goal late on. The 35-year-old was in the right place to react to a clearance and duly smashed a shot into the bottom corner without breaking stride.
After a 10-game run without a goal, Lampard had two. Once again, he had silenced the Hammers fans who like to bait him.
As for Chelsea, it's hard to imagine they'll have many easier wins all season. Jose Mourinho's team were rarely troubled and kept a much-needed clean sheet to bolster their confidence in defence. There were still worrying moments for Chelsea at the back, but West Ham simply were not good enough to make them count.
Select Player Grades
Frank Lampard (A)—The veteran midfielder did what's he's been doing for years. He found space, made himself available for the ball and showed up in dangerous positions to create goalscoring opportunities.
Eden Hazard (B)—Some good moments from Hazard, but he wasn't quite at the level we've come to expect.
Stewart Downing (C+)—Downing showed good purpose and had plenty of the ball, but his final product was never quite good enough.
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