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How Werner Dealt a Hammer Blow in Top-four Race


West Ham’s surprise top-four challenge this season will have no doubt strengthened desires for the ‘big six’ to breakaway to an exclusive European competition, with these two sides arriving on equal points with just six games remaining.

Chelsea had some joy down the right early on as Werner turned Mason Mount’s cross over the bar from 12 yards, before Christian Pulisic struck Werner’s own low centre into the hands of Lukasz Fabianski.

Chelsea had all of the ball, as expected, but were shut out by West Ham, who were keen to soak up pressure and counter-attack at every opportunity; in every home game against top-half opposition, David Moyes’ side have had less than 40 per cent possession.

But Chelsea scored against the run of play in a move started and finished by Werner, who now has 20 goal involvements (11 goals and nine assists) this season, more than any other Blues player.

Receiving the ball with Angel Ogbonna on his back, Werner held it up well and found Pulisic, who spread out wide to Chilwell. The German then continued his run into the box and slotted home Chilwell’s low cross from eight yards with just two minutes of the first half remaining.

But Werner missed a huge chance to put Chelsea 2-0 up early in the second half; after Mount’s long-range effort was saved by Fabianski, the ball fortuitously fell into Werner’s path, six yards out, but he skewed his effort wide of the post with just the goalkeeper to beat.

West Ham were then jolted into life as Ryan Fredericks’ goalbound effort was blocked well by Mount, before Jesse Lingard’s clever half volley floated just wide of Edouard Mendy’s left-hand post.

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