Chelsea vs. West Ham United: 6 Things We Learned

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2014

Chelsea vs. West Ham United: 6 Things We Learned

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    STAMFORD BRIDGE, LONDON—Jose Mourinho's Chelsea were left frustrated on Wednesday after a goalless draw with West Ham United saw them lose ground in the Premier League title race.

    Manchester City now top the table after thrashing Tottenham Hotspur 5-1, while a day earlier Arsenal had dropped points when drawing 2-2 with Southampton.

    The Blues had an incredible 39 shots on goal against the Hammers—who managed just one—but still they couldn't find a way through as Sam Allardyce's men held firm for a valuable point.

    It left Mourinho cutting a frustrated figure, and while he described West Ham's tactics as being somewhat dated, plenty of other talking points reared their head at Stamford Bridge.

    Here are six things we learned from this London derby.

The Premier League Title Is Manchester City's to Lose

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    When they're scoring goals at will and thrashing whomever is put before them, it's difficult to see anyone but Manchester City being this season's Premier League champions.

    While Chelsea were struggling to break down a team that Manuel Pellegrini's team recently scored nine goals against in the Capital One Cup semi-final, City were busy beating Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 at White Hart Lane.

    That win moves them to the top, and in this kind of form, it's hard to see anyone finishing above them.

    Chelsea will try, of course, but the draw against West Ham certainly done them any favors.

Chelsea Must Be More Clinical in Front of Goal

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Chelsea had 39 shots against West Ham United, and they didn't once come close to scoring.

    That's a worrying statistic.

    While Chelsea's strikers have been much maligned in 2013-14, the draw highlighted that unless the Blues can attract a ruthless goalscorer, they will be endure more moments such as this.

    It's an incredible stat—Chelsea had a shot on goal around every 2.3 minutes of the game.

    At any level, failing to find the net after dominating so much isn't good enough, and Mourinho needs to have his players back in training for extra shooting practice.

Andy Carroll Isn't Going to Save West Ham's Premier League Bacon

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Andy Carroll suffered from a phenomenon that strikes most players when they spend a lengthy spell on the sidelines—he became a better player.

    While West Ham were struggling in the Premier League in his absence, the notion gradually grew that things would change once he returned to fitness. But it's not going to be the case.

    The Hammers may have come away with a draw against Chelsea, but they did it on the back of a solid defensive display and nothing more.

    Sam Allardyce's team showed very little going forward, and when Carroll's job was to be holding up play and easing the pressure, he wasn't up to task.

    He could have grabbed an unlikely winner midway through the second half too but didn't have the composure to connect with a Matt Jarvis cross with the goal gaping.

    Overall, it was a disappointing display, and if the Hammers are pinning their survival hopes on the Englishman, they may find themselves back in the championship.

Mourinho Hasn't Lost His Sense of Humor

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Many things may have changed in the years since his last spell as Chelsea coach, but Jose Mourinho's sense of humor isn't one of them.

    He branded West Ham United's tactic as being behind the times on Wednesday, saying their approach was "19th century football."

    It got more than a chuckle in the post-match press conference and put a smile on his face too, despite Chelsea losing ground in the title race.

    The Portuguese knew what he was up to, and whether it was tongue in cheek or not, it was an effective way of getting his point across.

West Ham Have What It Takes to Stay Up

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    Talk about team spirit. West Ham United gave on gutsy display.

    With their backs to the wall for much of the game, the Hammers battled their way to a point against Chelsea.

    It still leaves them in the relegation zone, but it's a point that not even their own supporters would have been expecting.

    The impression was Andy Carroll would inspire them to pulling clear of the bottom three (refer to Slide 3), but it seems their much-criticized defence could very be the answer instead.

    Who would have predicted that at the turn of the year?

    West Ham have been on the receiving end of some beatings this term, but with this defensive display, they may have turned the corner.

    From here, they can continue to build, and while preventing goals and hoping for the best at the other end isn't going to be the end of their troubles, it will help them turn things around.

Eden Hazard Is Becoming the Main Man at Stamford Bridge

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    He's already been vital to Chelsea's success this season, and Wednesday night reaffirmed that Eden Hazard is quickly becoming the main man at Stamford Bridge.

    It was telling that when Jose Mourinho made his final substitute of the game to bring on Demba Ba, he sacrificed Oscar, preferring to keep Hazard on the pitch.

    The Belgian was probably Chelsea's best attacking player on the night, but it also showed Mourinho's faith in him.

    It worked tactically, too, as the team maintained an element of width that removing Hazard would have lost.

    Not only that, but at times throughout the game Hazard was playing like a senior member of this squad. He was demanding possession, attacking players and attempting to win it on his own.

    It didn't work out as he would have liked, but the fact remains that he was vital to Chelsea's endeavors.

     

    Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes