West Ham 1-1 Chelsea
Chelsea moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League
table on Sunday after coming from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at
The Hammers took a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time
at Upton Park when Alessandro Diamanti stroked home from the spot.
However, the Blues improved after the break and drew level on
61 minutes through Frank Lampard’s spot-kick.
Encroaching Chelsea players resulted in referee Mike Dean
ordering the England midfielder to take the penalty three times in
total – he netted on each occasion, with the third effort finally
The Blues will probably see this as an opportunity missed
following Manchester United’s thumping at Fulham on Saturday, while
the Hammers have at least avoided being bottom at Christmas as they
stay 19th, a point ahead of Portsmouth and two from the safety
The visitors started brightly and Robert Green had to be
alert to keep out Lampard’s swerving drive, while Branislav
Ivanovic headed just over the bar.
Scott Parker did brilliantly to clear an Ivanovic header off
the line before the Hammers squandered a decent opportunity when
Jack Collison’s effort from 16 yards was kept out by the feet of
Lampard fired a shot wide and Didier Drogba found the
side-netting from a tight angle before Gianfranco Zola’s men broke
the deadlock on the stroke of half-time.
Collison burst into the area and was going away from goal
when Ashley Cole slid in to send the midfielder flying. Diamanti
stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent Cech the wrong way.
The Blues felt aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty
moments later when Green appeared to clatter Salomon Kalou, but
Dean was having none of it.
Drogba flashed a stunning volley wide from an impossible
angle early in the second period, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men came out
with a harsh talking-to probably still ringing in their ears.
And they were level in the 61st minute when Matthew Upson
made a brilliant tackle on substitute Daniel Sturridge in the area
but the assistant referee flagged for a foul and Dean pointed to
Lampard scored but was ordered to take the spot-kick again
due to encroachment. He produced another great finish but,
remarkably, Dean ordered another retake – the England midfielder,
however, kept his cool to fire home at the third time of asking.
Cech kept out a fierce Diamanti strike, while at the other
end Joe Cole blasted over the bar and Drogba fizzed an effort just
wide as a pulsating encounter came to an end.