Chelsea missed a chance to move up to second place in the Premier League after being held to a scoreless draw at home to West Ham United on Wednesday at a rainy Stamford Bridge.
The Blues had won seven straight matches in all competitions, but although they dominated possession and registered an astounding 39 shots, the Blues were kept at bay by West Ham keeper Adrian's fine outing.
With the result, Chelsea remained third on 50 points, two behind Arsenal and three behind new leaders Manchester City, who won 5-1 at Tottenham on Wednesday.
West Ham are 18th and currently in the relegation zone, two points away from safety. Hammers midfielder Mohamed Diame was forced off in the 30th minute following a fall into the stands four minutes earlier. He was replaced by Matthew Jarvis.
In his post-match comments, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho complained about West Ham's defensive tactics.
"It is very difficult to play a match when only one team wants to play," Mourinho said, per ChelseaFC.com. "Football matches are about two teams playing but because West Ham needed points they came here the way they did."
Mourinho added: "I don't want to criticise too much because if I was in their position I don't know if I would do the same. But at the same time this is not football from the Premier League, the best league in the world, this football from the 19th century."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce responded angrily, mocking Mourinho and saying he doesn't "give a s***e" about the Chelsea manager's criticism.
"I love to see Chelsea players moaning at the referee, trying to intimidate him (and) Jose jumping up and down in his technical area. It's great to see," Allardyce said, per the Daily Mirror.
Allardyce added: "He can't take it, can he? He can't take it because we've out-tacticked him, out-witted him. He just can't cope. He can tell me all he wants."
Mourinho made six changes to the side that defeated Stoke on Sunday in the FA Cup. Petr Cech returned in goal, with John Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta slotting into the back line. Ramires and John Obi Mikel started in the holding midfield, while Willian replaced Andre Schurrle in attack.
England international striker Andy Carroll made his first league start of the season for West Ham, while manager Sam Allardyce drafted new signings Antonio Nocerino and Marco Borriello into the squad as substitutes.
West Ham had an early penalty claim in the sixth minute when Carroll went to ground in the box under contact by Azpilicueta, but referee Neil Swarbrick waved play on. At the other end, Oscar's curled shot in the ninth minute was tipped on to the crossbar by Adrian.
In the 12th minute, James Tomkins headed Stewart Downing's free-kick on Chelsea's goal, but Cech raced across his line to save. Kevin Nolan was on hand at the far post, but he was unable to react quickly enough to produce a shot on the rebound.
Despite dominating possession, Chelsea were limited to half-chances and long-range efforts throughout the first half. Ramires shot over in the 24th minute and Oscar missed wide eight minutes later. Eden Hazard directed an effort on target three minutes before the break, but Adrian saved easily.
As half-time approached, Chelsea produced their best spell yet. First, Adrian saved with his feet from Terry's header. Then, in stoppage time, Samuel Eto'o spun and fired from the right, but Adrian saved well at his near post.
After the interval, Ramires directed a half-volley off target in the 57th minute. Veteran midfielder Frank Lampard entered the match as a substitute in the 63rd minute and saw his first shot blocked two minutes later. Hazard then curled an effort wide of the back post in the 67th minute.
West Ham dug in defensively, Matthew Taylor blocking Lampard's shot from eight yards in the 72nd minute. Chelsea maintained the attack and, in stoppage time, substitute Demba Ba redirected a shot off the near upright.
Moments later, Hazard blasted high off target. Just before the final whistle, Eto'o put the ball in the net as Adrian prepared to take a free-kick in his own box, but Swarbrick ruled the goal out. With Chelsea's final attack, Lampard forced a save with a first-time shot in the middle from Hazard's cross.
But for all their intent, Chelsea were unable to secure a victory that would have taken them up to second place.
|Chelsea Player Ratings vs. West Ham|
|John Obi Mikel||6||6|
|Nemanja Matic (for Mikel, 63')||N/A||6|
|Frank Lampard (for Azpilicueta, 63')||N/A||7|
|Demba Ba (for Oscar, 80')||N/A||6|
|West Ham United Player Ratings vs. Chelsea|
|Matthew Jarvis (for Diame, 30')||6||6|
|Carlton Cole (for Carroll, 64')||N/A||6|
|Antonio Nocerino (for Nolan, 80')||N/A||6|
Chelsea travel to take on Premier League title rivals Manchester City on Monday.
West Ham host Swansea City on Saturday.
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