London - David
Moyes claimed his first win as West Ham United manager after Marko
Arnautovic's goal gave the Premier League strugglers a shock 1-0 win
over champions Chelsea on Saturday.
Arnautovic, the Hammers' £24 million record signing, struck in the sixth minute to earn Moyes his
first win in his fifth game since succeeding Slaven Bilic.
While the Austrian's neat strike boosted his side's hopes of climbing
out of the bottom three, it dealt a severe blow to Chelsea's hopes of
defending their title.
Victory would have moved Antonio Conte's side level on points with
second-place Manchester United and closed the gap to leaders Manchester
City to eight points, 24 hours before the top two meet at Old Trafford.
Instead, Chelsea head coach Conte will now watch that game knowing his side could lose yet more ground in the title race.
The Italian was left frustrated by his team's under-par display,
which was summed up by a late miss from top scorer Alvaro Morata.
For Moyes, the win confirmed West Ham's steady progress since he took
charge and justified his team selection, including the decision to
stick with goalkeeper Adrian and not recall England international Joe
The Hammers manager also opted to start without a recognised striker,
with Andy Carroll, Javier Hernandez, Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho held
back on the bench.
Instead, Moyes asked Michail Antonio to fill the lone forward role
and the move had the desired effect as the hard-working home side went
ahead via Arnautovic's early strike.
Last weekend's narrow defeat at Manchester City appeared to have
instilled confidence in Moyes's side, who demonstrated no fear in taking
the game to Chelsea.
That belief was summed up in the way they carved open the visitors' defence to force the breakthrough.
Arnautovic exchanged passes with Manuel Lanzini before wrong-footing
Cesar Azpilicueta and placing the ball beyond Thibaut Courtois with his
Chelsea had rallied to beat
Newcastle United last weekend after falling behind, but their response
this time was less convincing.
Even Eden Hazard showed signs of being off the pace when he pulled a close-range volley across the face of goal.
Conte's men, who had missed out on the chance to top their Champions
League group after failing to beat Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge in
mid-week, lacked their usual zip.
While Adrian was obliged to save sighters from N'Golo Kante and
Davide Zappacosta, Chelsea struggled to create enough clear openings
during the first half.
Hazard had this week been told by Conte he must show the level of
hunger demonstrated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi if the Belgian
is to challenge for the Ballon d'Or.
But the former Lille player failed to show anything like his best during the opening 45 minutes at the London Stadium.
Morata was also ineffective and Conte reacted to a disappointing
first half by introducing Pedro for Tiemoue Bakayoko in an attempt to
provide the former Real Madrid striker with more support.
The initial signs were positive for the visitors, although they could
have fallen further behind had referee Anthony Taylor taken a different
view of a handball incident nine minutes after the break.
The ball struck Andreas Christensen's hand as Arnautovic, who
produced his best performance in a West Ham shirt, attempted to cut
inside the Dane on the edge of the Chelsea box.
To the Chelsea defender's relief, Taylor viewed the contact as accidental.
Chelsea stepped up the pressure in the latter stages, but Morata's
83rd-minute miss summed up their day, the Spain striker lashing
wastefully wide of the near post from Kante's pass.