Timo Werner’s first-half goal held up as Chelsea won a big London derby over 10-man West Ham United with a 1-0 win at the London Stadium on Saturday.
Chelsea out-attempted West Ham 17-9, putting six of the game’s eight shots on target, and saw an easier end when Fabian Balbuena was sent off for a controversial foul on Ben Chilwell.
The Blues move onto 58 points, one back of third-place Leicester City and three clear of their Saturday hosts.
Now fifth-place West Ham holds a one-point lead on Livrpool, two ahead of Tottenham, and three clear of Everton who has a match-in-hand and visits the Irons on May 9.
Three things we learned from West Ham – Chelsea
1. Volume-shooter Werner arrives at the right time to score: He just missed with some chances, saw others blocked, and did — in fact — score, as Timo Werner really does look as comfortable as he has in ages. He’ll need to up his game against Real Madrid during the week as Chelsea aims for the Champions League, but his timing on the game’s lone goal was perfect and he’s perhaps quietly accumulated 11 goals and 12 assists across all competitions. A big goal in Europe or the FA Cup Final and we may see Werner’s first season in a new land viewed as perfectly acceptable (although certainly not the 34 goals and 13 assists of last season at RB Leipzig).
2. VAR and the rulebook will change quite a bit: When you see Callum Wilson’s goal ruled out earlier Saturday in Liverpool’s draw with Newcastle and then the conflicting red card and no cards we’re about to detail, you’ll know plenty is going to change when the rulemakers come together in the offseason. Fabian Balbuena was sent off for trodding on the calf of Ben Chilwell with the followthrough of a big clearances, but Vladimir Coufal spared the rod, so to speak, when his clearance caught Antonio Rudiger. What are we doing?
3. Chelsea comfortable in moving clear of rivals: The Blues shouldve found their second and maybe third goals against a scrappy West Ham, but don’t let the hullaballoo around the late red card detract from the fact that Chelsea’s cozy-enough win wasn’t far away in control from Man City’s one-goal comeback win versus Aston Villa. West Ham only wins because Liverpool failed to beat Newcastle.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount
Ben Chilwell was good and Werner could’ve had more than his goal, but Mount was the side’s danger man and kept West Ham off balanceon a few occasions. Lukasz Fabianski otherwise would like a word, having made a pair of fine saves on Mount and several other stops on other would-be Chelsea scorers.