Torres Nets As Blues Keep
Chelsea 3 West Ham
Torres finally broke his Chelsea goal duck as the Blues beat West Ham 3-0 to
keep their title hopes alive.
Frank Lampard gave the hosts the lead just
before the interval when slotting home an Ashley Cole cross.
off the bench to double the advantage with six minutes remaining before Florent
Malouda netted in injury time to wrap up the victory.
The win sees
second-placed Chelsea sit six points behind leaders Manchester United, while
West Ham remain rock bottom after Wolves drew earlier in the day.
finally scored to end his 15-hour goal drought after the £50million man had not
found the net for 901 minutes for club and country.
He had not scored in
732 minutes for the champions since joining them almost three months ago, but it
took him just eight minutes to do so after coming off the bench today.
The jubilant Spaniard was mobbed by his team-mates as Stamford Bridge erupted in
The margin of defeat was harsh on West Ham, who wasted several
chances of their own as they ended the day back on the bottom of the table, two
points from safety.
Amid all the talk of Chelsea's resurgence and West
Ham's survival battle, the latest reunion between John Terry and Wayne Bridge
had slipped under the radar.
Relations between the pair had not thawed in
the year after allegations emerged about their private lives and Bridge duly
snubbed Terry during the pre-match handshake, as he did last season.
non-pleasantries were accompanied by a huge drop in temperature as the heavens
opened after one of the hottest days of the year.
In what were admittedly treacherous conditions,
Chelsea flattered to deceive in the first half, dominating the opening 20
minutes without finding the net.
Malouda looked certain to do so inside
three minutes - just as he had done against Birmingham on Wednesday - but he
shot straight at the onrushing Robert Green.
Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole
and Malouda all went close but West Ham's blanket defence stood firm.
Their attacking threat had been virtually nil but that changed in the 24th
minute when Petr Cech was forced into fingertip saves twice in a minute from
Demba Ba's 30-yarder and Jonathan Spector's close-range header.
blazed over as the rain relented, only to be replaced by the sound of thunder,
before the lively Freddie Sears was desperately unlucky not to put West Ham
ahead on the half-hour, his outrageous volleyed backheel from a corner cleared
off the line by Cole.
Chelsea were becoming increasingly sloppy, with a
suicidal Salomon Kalou pass going unpunished and a lack of communication seeing
Cech take out team-mate David Luiz.
But with just a minute of the half
remaining, Chelsea produced their best move of the match to take the lead,
Drogba threading in Cole, whose low cross was smashed home by Lampard.
The rain returned and there also appeared to be a floodlight failure before the
That was rectified during half-time, after which Kalou fired
wide from 12 yards before John Obi Mikel blocked Manuel Da Costa's header from a
Both sides lost men to injury moments later, Michael Essien
hobbling off and Mark Noble carried off on a stretcher in worryingly innocuous
Drogba's free-kick just evaded Terry but his cross moments later
should have been converted by Lampard but he failed to land a connection to beat
The pitch was in danger
of becoming unplayable but David Luiz smashed a long-ranger against the crossbar
moments before Ba's blockbuster was fumbled by Cech and Hammers substitute
Robbie Keane shot straight at the keeper.
With 20 minutes remaining,
Kalou was withdrawn for Anelka, with Torres made to wait by Carlo Ancelotti.
Keane really should have levelled 16 minutes from time when Spector's
through ball left him with just Cech to beat but he blazed wide.
became the latest player to clear off his own line before Torres replaced Drogba
for the final 14 minutes, squaring for for Anelka to score what should have been
the clincher, Danny Gabbidon heading off the line.
Then, the moment every
Chelsea fan had been waiting for arrived.
Anelka's through ball played in
Torres and the ball cruelly appeared to hold up in a puddle.
proved a blessing in disguise as the Spaniard swivelled and curled home
Stamford Bridge erupted and every outfield Chelsea player
piled on top of a jubilant Torres next to the corner flag.
even played a part in Chelsea's stoppage-time third, providing the goal assist
which Malouda lashed into the roof of the net, a strike that could prove vital
if goal difference comes into play in the title race.
Click Here For Official Team Sheet
Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz,
Terry, Cole, Essien (Benayoun 56),
Mikel, Lampard, Kalou (Anelka 70), Drogba (Torres 76), Malouda
Subs Not Used
Turnbull, Ferreira, Bertrand, Zhirkov
Lampard 44, Torres 84, Malouda 90
West Ham United
Jacobsen, Da Costa, Gabbidon, Bridge, Spector, Noble (Keane 59), Hitzlsperger,
Sears (Obinna 81), Ba, Cole (Piquionne 78)
Subs Not Used
Boffin, Tomkins, Kovac, Boa Morte