West Ham United’s dream of breaking into the top four was dealt a huge blow on Saturday as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The Hammers went ahead twice but couldn’t close shop as they allowed Chelsea back to steal a point and dent their chances of a top four finish.
Slaven Bilic’s side had an early opening on the break but Dmitry Payet’s ball to Valencia was over-hit. And then a quick break by the Blues but as Kenedy crossed to Remy the offside flag was raised as both teams started on the front foot.
A lively opening minutes it was with both teams looking to get on the front foot when in possession and Adrian, in goal for West Ham, saved from Remy at his near post after the striker was played in by Fabregas, in what seemed a positive start from the Blues.
West Ham were unrelenting in their attack either, as Dmitry Payet forced a free-kick from Branislav Ivanovic, who was shown the first yellow card of the match.
The Hammers then took the lead with Lanzini curler from 23-yards which beat the Chelsea defence and Thibaut Courtois. 1-0 West Ham. Mikel did well to challenge Payet but the loose ball fell to Lanzini, who gave Courtois no chance with the strike.
West Ham remained on the front foot as they once again forced a corner-kick off Courtois and Kouyate got to Payet’s delivery but steered his header away from goal and Chelsea cleared to safety.
Chelsea were then unlucky as Kenedy showed a great desire to keep going when he looked to have lost out, but the shot was too high. The Blues appealed for a penalty as Cahill’s pass appeared to have struck the arm of Valencia but the ref waved play on.
The back-and-forth attack from both sides saw West Ham almost doubling their lead at the other end as Aaron Cresswell’s shot across the face of goal and appeared to be going in but Ivanovic got a slight touch on the strike and deflected it behind.
Moments later Kenedy was brought down just outside the box with Chelsea attacking but the resulting free-kick from Willian was off target.
But the Blues weren’t relenting in theit push and a floated ball into the area was chested out of Winston Reid, the loose ball being won by Oscar but the New Zealander’s push on the Brazilian earned him a yellow card and Chelsea a free-kick, wgich was superbly converted by Cesc Fabregas for Chelsea’s equalizer.
The Premier League champions would go into the break with that equalizer.
The second half resumed with both sides still trying to continue from where they left off but it was the Hammers that came closest as a Lanzini shot went past Courtois but was cleared to safety by John Terry.
The Blues however kept putting some pressure of theirs and Ivanovic found time and space to cross from the right but there was no Chelsea player inside the box to connect, with Oscar only arriving late but his touch could only get the side netting.
At the other end of the pitch, West Ham were threatening to retake their lead as a Cresswell shot beat Courtois, who was expecting a cross, and hit the post in what was a nervy moment for Chelsea.
Slaven Bilic then made a tactical switch as he replaced Diafra Sakho with Andy Carroll and the Englishman wasted very little time before he found the back of the net to give the Hammers the lead again.
The Blue and Clarets broke from a Chelsea attack with Payet finding Carroll down the left and the big striker hit a powerful one past Courtois and they were back on the lead again.
Chelsea went on the front foot again as they sought to find the equalizer with Pedro using his pace to good effect. His pass found Willian, who was fouled and his free-kick found Mikel’s head but the Nigerian couldn’t connect well enough to beat Adrian.
Cesc Fabregas then went so close as his overhead kick went narrowly over the West Ham goal. The Blues had been threatening and a loose clearance from the Hammers’ defence found the Spaniard, who went for the spectacular but it just didn’t click.
Substitute Emmanuel Emenike’s power was too much for Cesar Azpilicueta and his cross from the right flashed across the face of goal with Carroll lurking, but Ivanovic was on hand to clear for a corner-kick.
The resulting corner saw Carroll with a powerful header but was cleared by the Chelsea defence and a quick counter saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek cluttered into by Michail Antonio.
Cesc Fabregas stepped up for the penalty kick and sent goalkeeper Adrian the wrong way and it was game on.
Despite spirited attempts by both sides to snatch the win, it proved futile as the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The result left West Ham fifth with 49 points, while Chelsea remained 10th with 40 points.