Blues Away Joy - At Last (Sky Sports)
|FA Carling Premiership|
Dean Gripton reports
Eidur Gudjohnsen's first league goal since Boxing Day, and a beauty by Premiership top scorer Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink helped Chelsea to that elusive first league away win of the season.
West Ham have now won only one in nine games as their FA Cup exploits appear to have taken their toll, and their season will be over if they suffer a third London derby defeat in a week against Spurs on Sunday.
Harry Redknapp was able to bring back his two creative inspirations Joe Cole and Paolo Di Canio, but the Hammers rarely gelled as a unti going forward and looked a tired outfit.
For Chelsea the main team news was that Croatian midfielder Mario Stanic returned for his first start since August - but he only lasted 24 minutes before Poyet replaced him.
The injury-hit Upton Park side also suffered an early blow when Stuart Pearce off after eight minutes with a mysterious injury - as the game started in a typical end-of-season affair, even like a testimonial such was the lack of pace in the opening half an hour.
Cole should have opened the scoring after 25 mins when a Di Canio free-kick was headed back across goal by Ian Pearce, but the England hopeful's left-footed shot from four yards was smashed against the crossbar.
That prompted Chelsea to change gear. Gudjohnsen opened the scoring after 32 minutes with his side's first real effort of the game. Jesper Gronkjaer was involved twice in a patient build-up, then skipped around a Steve Potts challenge before finding the Icelandic striker, who controlled before firing a fine left-foot drive into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Gudjohnsen was running riot now as Chelsea grew in confidence, and four minutes after the goal teed the ball for Hassdelbaink who smashed a typical rocket shot that beat Hislop abut also the far post. He was just setting his sights.
They only had to wait two more minutes for Hasselbaink to find his range. Collecting a Poyet header, he turned Christian Dailly before curling a beauty into the top corner with added power.
Gudjohnsen was unlucky to get in the way of a goalbound Slavisa Jokanovic piledriver - as Chelsea continued to aim for their own Goal of the Month competition. But the former Bolton striker had little chance to get out of the way.
Chelsea were really up for this task and after only 28 seconds of the second half Gronkjaer cut in from the left to warm Hislop's gloves again. Then Gudjohnsen missed a great chance from just eight yards when clipping the ball past the far post just two minutes later.
Poyet headed over a fine Graeme Le Saux cross on the hour mark as the visitors continued look the greater scoring threat. Indeed, the Hammers were clearly missing the movement and control of Freddie Kanoute in their attack. Kaba Diawara came on as a substitute but is a poor imitation of his countryman, heading tamely wide after 66 minutes.
Cole and Di Canio combined only for the former to flick a 12-yard header wide of the far post from the latter's cross, which was the sign for the disappointing Davor Suker to be replaced by Christian Bassila as Redknapp sought to garner some sort of midfield authority from the excellent Jokanovic and Dennis Wise.
Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini had barely a serious save to make as his Claudio Ranieri finally tasted Premiership success on the road.
Man of the Match: Eidur Gudjohnsen
The blond striker showed the best movement of any attacking player and now really looks a Premiership striker after a fine 10th goal of the season.
West Ham: Hislop, Potts, Stuart
Pearce (Schemmel 11, Diawara 46), I Pearce, Song, Dailly, Cole, Soma, Lampard,
Suker (Bassila 72), Di Canio.
Subs Not Used: Bywater, Camara.
Booked: Lampard, Suker.
Chelsea: Chelsea: Cudicini, Leboeuf, Desailly, Ferrer, Le Saux (Terry 87), Jokanovic (Dalla Bona 83), Wise, Stanic (Poyet 23), Gronkjaer, Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen.
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Knight.
Booked: Ferrer, Gronkjaer.
Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood)