Chelsea 3-0 West Ham United
- Goals: Thiago Silva (£5.5m), Tammy Abraham (£7.2m) x2
- Assists: Mason Mount (£6.9m), Timo Werner (£9.3m), Christian Pulisic (£8.2m)
- Bonus: Abraham x3, Thiago x2, Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.6m) x1
Frank Lampard is hopeful that first-choice full-backs Ben Chilwell (£6.2m) and Reece James (£5.3m) aren’t seriously injured but did express doubts that the former would be fit to face Arsenal on Boxing Day.
Chilwell didn’t even last 10 minutes of Chelsea’s win over West Ham United on Monday, failing to recover from a twisted ankle and limping from the field of play.
James wasn’t involved in the matchday squad, meanwhile, with reports surfacing over the weekend that the youngster was suffering from a knee complaint.
Facing the media after the game, Lampard said first of Chilwell:
I’d expect he’d be doubtful for Arsenal. He turned his ankle, he tried to carry on and it was too painful. We’ll have to have a scan tomorrow, first thing, and try and see how bad the injury is.
We hope both their injuries are not that bad and they’ll be in and around those two games over Christmas, which is such a tight turnaround, so we’ll see. But I was pleased with the way the two lads played today.
The “two lads” that Lampard referred to were Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.6m) and Emerson Palmieri (£4.7m), who were brought in from the cold to deputise at full-back.
Unsurprisingly not offering the same threat as James and Chilwell going forward, the pair were solid at the back as West Ham were limited to just six legitimate attempts on goal (the match officials ruling out two of the Hammers’ strikes) and not one effort on target.
Edouard Mendy (£5.2m) has gained a lot of praise for his influence on the Blues’ backline but in reality, he hasn’t really been tested too much, only registering FPL save points in two of his ten appearances.
A greater debt is arguably owed to the transformative leadership qualities of Thiago Silva (£5.5m), with Kurt Zouma (£5.8m) and James looking all the better for having an experienced head alongside them this season.
The veteran Brazilian was singled out by his head coach after the game:
The defence were great. Thiago Silva was the leader but Azpilicueta came in and did brilliantly. As full-backs, you have to defend your zone when they’re crossing the ball again and again. They’re very good at set-pieces so it’s something that we’ve worked on a lot in training and personnel like Thiago clearly help a lot.
Some of our defending of the box this season has been really good and consistent and that has to stay, particularly against opponents like we had tonight.
It was Thiago who opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge, with the former PSG stopper rising high to nod home a Mason Mount (£6.9m) corner.
That was the ninth goal that Chelsea defenders have scored this season, which is unsurprisingly a league-high.
The Blues are also top for goals from set plays (nine) in 2020/21.
Assuming control of dead-ball duties since his return to the starting XI in Gameweek 7, Mount – who has taken 34 of the Blues’ last 42 corners – is prospering alongside those defenders.
This was his fourth assist in the last eight Gameweeks, a period of games in which he hasn’t missed a single minute of football.
Tammy Abraham (£7.2m) made the most of his first start in four, hitting a brace and collecting maximum bonus points.
Both goals were poachers’ strikes, with the England forward finishing up after unconvincing efforts from Timo Werner (£9.3m) and Christian Pulisic (£8.2m).
It was the sixth match without a goal for Werner, who wasted another two big chances here – his first effort was saved after he was played clean through by Pulisic, while his second rattled the visitors’ crossbar late on.
Even his assist came courtesy of a scuffed shot and there is little incentive to acquire or retain his services in FPL at present, with a long-overdue rest surely coming in either Gameweek 15 or 16 given the quick turnaround time and the fact that Hakim Ziyech (£8.1m) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.7m) are back in training.
Lampard said of his misfiring German:
I’m not worried. Every striker will want to be scoring goals, it’s what they ultimately get judged on and that’s why Timo was a great acquisition for us because of the level of goals he’s scored in the last few years.
He’s a player in a new league and we have to give him time to settle but he’s getting into positions regularly, he’s scaring teams and giving them a problem. It’s not quite going in for him at the moment but as soon as that changes then we’ll see goals from Timo Werner for sure.
TAKING THE MICHAIL
A 3-0 defeat was probably an unfair reflection on West Ham, given the balance of the game.
It’s hard to escape the fact that the Hammers sorely miss Michail Antonio (£6.2m), however, with the static Sebastien Haller (£6.1m) seemingly capable of little other than 35-yard screamers.
David Moyes’ post-match update didn’t really get us any closer to finding out when Antonio will return, with the West Ham head coach’s comments not sounding overly optimistic:
Well I hope we get Micky back, soon. If we don’t then we need to think about what else we are going to do, how we are going to do it because I think we just need alternatives or options, we are a bit limited with that.
If not, we need to start looking within my own group to see if I can find another Marko Arnautovic or Micky Antonio, I think that’s what I am going to try and do.
Easier tests await for West Ham, of course, starting with Brighton at home this weekend.
Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell (Emerson 10); Kante, Jorginho (Kovacic 67), Moun; Werner, Abraham, Pulisic (Havertz 84).
West Ham United XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen (Fredericks 90), Noble, Fornals (Benrahma 67); Haller.
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 14
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