In a match that was a tribute to the life of Ray Wilkins, both West Ham United and hosts Chelsea put on a second half display worthy of the now late England great’s career with an exciting 1-1 draw Sunday.
It was the contest that the Stamford Bridge crowd in attendance deserved, as a somber remembrance for Wilkins after his shock death this week was proceeded by a quality contest from both sides.
The Blues were the better side in the first half, and were rewarded in the 36th minute. Just moments after Joe Hart produced a terrific save to deny Willian, a corner kick scramble lead to Cesar Azpilicueta tapping in from close range to give his side the deserved 1-0 advantage.
But the Hammers showed in the opening interval that they would be a constant threat to Chelsea, as they were in their terrific win over them at the London Stadium in December. And the constant energy of Marko Arnautovic was always a worry for Antonio Conte’s side, whose fears were compounded when Javier Hernandez came on the field. And the Mexican star indeed made a terrific impact with a superb finish after great work from Arnautovic to even the match in the 73rd minute. It was Chichairto’s third goal off the bench this season.
Both teams had chances to win the match, and the Hammers will feel aggrieved that they didn’t get a penalty in the 86th minute when N’Golo Kante did not get the ball in tackling Arnautovic.
It was an exciting contest, especially in the second half, in the spirit of Sir Wilkins up above. The Hammers will hope the good vibes of the last two weeks continue in their road to safety, when they face off in another “six pointer” against desperate Stoke City next weekend.