Chelsea 5-1 West Ham United (Sky Sports)
Di Canio Dismissed As Blues Hammer Rivals
Paolo di Canio saw red at Stamford Bridge in what could be the saddest of conclusions to his life as a West Ham player.
The Manchester United target, whose move to Old Trafford has stalled but is likely to go through in the near future, was sent off for stamping on Jody Morris during a dreadful day for the Hammers.
He was aggrieved at an uncompromising sliding tackle by Morris in the 70th minute, and stamped on the Chelsea star's midriff as he lay prone on the ground. In truth, Di Canio's mind had looked elsewhere all game, and it was no surprise to see his emotions get the better of him.
Referee Andy D'Urso took a moment to gather his thoughts before ending the 30-year-old striker's afternoon 20 minutes early. And if his dejected walk off the pitch is anything to go by, di Canio will soon be ending his time at Upton Park.
The events tainted a fine afternoon's work by Chelsea, who saw striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's 19th and 20th goals of the season help them to their first double over their London rivals for 21 years.
The 15million Dutchman beat West Ham keeper David James in first half stoppage time, and then repeated the feat on the hour mark after Eidur Gudjohnsen had smacked home his seventh in seven league games.
The Iceland international took that tally to eight when he hit his second and Michael Forsell slotted home either side of West Ham substitute Jermaine Defoe's consolation for Glenn Roeder's beleaguered men, as the game went goal crazy at the death.
Blues boss Claudio Ranieri said afterwards: "It was a good performance, we played well.
"Players like Paolo di Canio, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole have a lot of quality, but Gianfranco Zola, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Hasselbaink have a lot of quality too."
The day was not only unkind to di Canio, who has been a fine servant to West Ham since moving from Sheffield Wednesday for 1.75million in 1999, but also James, who did his brilliant best to prevent a torrid afternoon.
But Chelsea were unquestionably the better side, not requiring former Hammer Frank Lampard's extra bite in midfield to overrun their opponents due to their superior class in all departments.
The signs were there for all to see early on as they came flying out of the blocks first. After 11 minutes of sparring, Gianfranco Zola cut inside Don Hutchinson and hit a fizzing shot from 23 yards that James claimed at the second attempt.
Mario Stanic fired from a similar position and, though the punchy effort troubled James with its movement, he got his body behind the ball and saw it rebound off his torso and away from the on-rushing Gudjohnsen.
In the 23rd minute Hasselbaink forced an acrabatic tip over with a powerful free-kick, and from the resultant corner Stanic found the net only to see referee D'Urso rule it out for a shove on Nigel Winterburn.
The 29-year-old Croat was omnipresent in the first half, coming within a whisker of a red card after a balk on Don Hutchison quickly followed a booking for a miss-timed sliding tackle on Sebastien Schemmel.
West Ham's tight midfield of Michael Carrick, Joe Cole and Hutchison were all competing manfully, but their priority to contain a lively Chelsea engine room rendered their own attacks leightweight and ineffective.
And on the stroke of half-time Chelsea's pressure told. Gudjohnsen's shot from an acute angle found its way to Hasselbaink, who fired his eighth goal in eight games against the Hammers through a congested goalmouth.
They started the second period as they ended the first, too. And after Carrick wasted possession in midfield with a pass that smacked of inexperience, Gudjohnsen smashed John Terry's lofted ball home with the help of a post.
The striker is on course for stardom at Stamford Bridge - he now has 16 goals for the season - and the way he controlled Terry's chip in mid-air to score his 50th minute strike proved he is running high on confidence.
Hasselbaink then removed all doubt when he burst clear of Tomas Repka and slotted home at the second attempt, before Gudjohnsen, Forssell and Defoe added their final contributions to an unlikely script late on.
But, unfortunately for Di Canio, it will be the Italian's actions that will dominate the reviews.
MAN OF THE
MATCH: Eidur Gudjohnsen (Chelsea)
Only just shaded David James. But with his goals tally now at 16, the Iceland striker has proved he is truly a fine striker.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Desailly, Terry, Gallas, Melchiot, Stanic, Lampard, Petit (Morris 62), Zola (Zenden 74), Hasselbaink (Forssell 79), Gudjohnsen.
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Keenan.
Booked: Stanic, Zola, Morris.
West Ham: James, Repka, Winterburn, Dailly, Schemmel, Cole, Carrick, Hutchison, Sinclair (Courtois 64), Kanoute (Defoe 79), Di Canio.
Subs Not Used: Andersson, Foxe, Kitson.
Sent Off: Di Canio (70).
Ref: A D'Urso (Billericay)