West Ham ends Chelsea's perfect start to EPL season
LONDON (AP) West Ham ended Chelsea's perfect start to the Premier League season as the London clubs played out a 0-0 draw on Sunday.
Chelsea had recorded five wins in its first five games but, after a tiring trip to Greece midweek to play in the Europa League, Maurizio Sarri's team never really got going against an energetic and organized opponent.
And the Hammers looked more likely to find a winner for much of the game at London Stadium, with Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga - the world's most expensive goalkeeper - forced into the best save of the match, and Andriy Yarmolenko missing a simple chance late on for West Ham.
Chelsea improved as the game went on but Alvaro Morata wasted its best chance, firing straight at Lukasz Fabianski soon after coming off the bench.
West Ham started the game the better side. Yarmolenko proved a constant threat down the right, while Michail Antonio, deputizing for the injured Marko Arnautovic, led the line with enthusiasm.
It was Antonio who had the best two opportunities of the opening 45 minutes. First, after being put through on goal by Felipe Anderson, he could only fire over when one-on-one with the 'keeper. Then, on 30 minutes, after a surging run on the break by Yarmolenko, the ball broke to Antonio, whose shot from inside the six-yard box was bravely blocked by Kepa.
While Kepa deserved credit for a fine save, it is hard to imagine that Arnautovic, who has scored three and assisted another of West Ham's five goals this season, would not have converted one, or both, of Antonio's chances.
For Chelsea, Olivier Giroud could only scuff an early volley straight at Fabianski from a corner, while N'Golo Kante headed wide its best opening of the half after a clever combination from Eden Hazard and Willian.
But for the most part the visitors were crowded out by a determined Hammers opposition, with Fabian Balbuena doing particularly well to nullify the dangerous Hazard.
Chelsea improved after the break but not by enough. David Luiz headed a corner over the bar, Kante failed to hit the target when well-placed and Fabianski made a fine save to deny Ross Barkley late on, but its best chance fell to the out-of-form Morata. After the home side switched off from a corner, Luiz touched the ball into the striker's path but his effort was straight at Fabianski, who saved bravely with his face.
And Yarmolenko should have won the game for the home side with 13 minutes remaining, heading wide from close range with no defender near him.
The draw earns West Ham its first home point of the season, while Chelsea stays third in the table, level on points with second-place Manchester City.
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Updated September 23, 2018