Chelsea Nail Hammers  (Sky Sports)

West Ham United 0 Chelsea 4

Chelsea celebrate Ballacks goalOn an afternoon when Avram Grant needed a big performance from his side, Chelsea delivered just that as West Ham were ruthlessly picked apart to the tune of 4-0 at Upton Park.

Frank Lampard's return to East London lasted just 36 minutes as Peter Walton indulged in the latest vogue in refereeing circles to send players off for little more than handbags, as his spat with Luis Boa Morte was adjudged to have involved violent conduct.

The West Ham faithful greeted Lampard's dismissal with glee but by that time the damage was already done, as Chelsea had raced into a three-goal lead courtesy of some immaculate finishing.

Lampard notched the first when he dispacted from the penalty spot after Anton Ferdinand had shown a criminal lack of judgement in bringing down Salomon Kalou, before Joe Cole and Michael Ballack both scored scorching half volleys to remind Mr Grant that their omission from the Carling Cup final team was perhaps a folly.

In the second period a flat West Ham failed to even hint at a comeback as Ashley Cole defied Chelsea's numerical disadvantage to angle in a well taken fourth.

Great start

Chelsea signalled their intent as early as the second minute when they had a Nicolas Anelka goal ruled out for offside.

West Ham found themselves under siege immediately but former Chelsea striker Carlton Cole alleviated some of the pressure with a 25-yard effort which fizzed over the crossbar.

Chelsea's early pressure earned them a penalty in the 15th minute when Kalou was brought down by Ferdinand.

Former Hammer Lampard converted the resulting spot-kick to put Avram Grant's side into the lead.

Four minutes later another West Ham old boy made it 2-0 to the visitors when Nicolas Anelka got away from the home defence and supplied Joe Cole on the edge of the penalty and the diminutive midfielder drilled a low angled shot into the far corner to put the Blues in total command.

Chelsea looked dangerous with every attack and Ballack made it three in the 22nd minute. Anelka and Lampard combined on the left flank before the England midfielder crossed for Ballack to hit the ball into the corner on the half volley.

Ballack beauty

Chelsea almost made it four in the 27th minute when Anelka's flicked header was collected under the bar by West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green.

West Ham were clearly shell-shocked by Chelsea's three-goal salvo but Mark Noble brought a fine flying save out of Petr Cech in the 31st minute when he let fly with a 20-yard rising drive.

But the game erupted into controversy in the 34th minute when Lampard was sent off by Walton.

The Chelsea midfielder tangled with Boa Morte on the ground and appeared to push the West Ham player as he attempted to get up. Walton's decision appeared a harsh decision to say the least and it sparked a confrontation which culminated in a booking for Ballack.

Chelsea's resolve to defend their three-goal advantage was clearly evident from the restart with Paulo Ferreira having to go off for attention to a blow in the face.

Lampard's dismissal had probably saved West Ham from defeat by a much bigger margin as Chelsea began the second half in a much more defensive frame of mind. The Blues were content to sit back and soak up what pressure the home side could muster.

Ashton's introduction gave the Hammers more height in attack but Terry and Carvalho continued to comfortably deal with any threat.

Comfortable Chelsea

But in the 58th minute Chelsea's determination was underlined when Terry raced back to clear a lob from Carlton Cole off the goal-line.

The Chelsea captain hooked the ball out from underneath the crossbar when a goal looked certain. West Ham continued to press for a way back into the game but Chelsea are masters at last-ditch defending and they doggedly kept the home side at bay.

Ten-man Chelsea made it four in the 63rd minute when Joe Cole's shot was superbly saved by Green only for Ashley Cole to pass the ball into the net from an acute angle.

In the end West Ham ran out of ideas and Chelsea, even with a man down, ran out comfortable winners.


West Ham United Green, Neill, Upson, McCartney, Ferdinand, Mullins, Ljungberg, Noble, Faubert (Solano 66), Boa Morte (Ashton 46), Cole (Zamora 65)
Subs Not Used Wright, Spector


Chelsea Cech, A. Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Ferreira, J. Cole (Essien 69), Lampard, Makelele (Alex 84), Ballack, Anelka, Kalou (Malouda 75)
Subs Not Used  Cudicini, Drogba
Booked  Ballack, Terry
Sent Off  Lampard

Goals  Lampard (pen) 17, J. Cole 20, Ballack 22, A. Cole 64

Attendance 34,969

P. Walton

The Soccerlinks Hit List