Sports Desk, Apr 24 (EFE).- Timo Werner’s first goal in his last seven matches made the difference Saturday for Chelsea, who edged West Ham United 0-1 at London Stadium to give themselves a cushion over the fifth-place Hammers in the battle for the fourth spot in the Premier League.
Chelsea, with just one defeat in 14 games since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as coach, improved to 58 points, 3 more than West Ham and just a point behind Leicester City in third.
Though the Blues must travel to Spain in three days for the first leg of a Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid, Tuchel picked a strong starting 11 for Saturday’s derby and Chelsea dominated possession, 57 percent, while outshooting the hosts by 17-6.
But their control of the game didn’t translate into a plethora of good chances and the contest remained scoreless until the 43rd minute, when Christian Pulisic and Ben Chilwell combined to put the ball in Werner’s path and the German international sent it into the West Ham net.
Werner, who has struggled to score since coming over to the Blues last summer from RB Leipzig for nearly $66 million, would have had a second goal had he not inexplicably fired wide on a clear chance in the 54th minute.
Mason Mount tested Lukasz Fabianski in the 62nd minute, four minutes before the West Ham goalkeepers had to tip an effort from Werner over the cross-bar.
The prospects for a comeback by the Hammers evaporated with the sending off of Fabian Balbuena in the 81st minute after his cleats made contact with Chilwell’s leg during the follow-through from a clearance.
VAR told the referee to have a look and the result was a straight red card for the West Ham man, much to the disgust of coach David Moyes, who made his feelings plain after the match.
“I think it’s a decision made by somebody who’s never played the game. I don’t know where Fabi Balbuena is supposed to plant his foot,” the Scotsman said. “I think we’ve had a day where the refereeing has been really poor.” EFE