Writer: Saul Rice
Date:Sunday April 26 2009
We had a real chance for getting at least one point from this game, but ended up with nothing, very disappointing to say the least.
Dyer started, with Kovac on the bench, with Zola opting for an attacking formation. Once again we had the aging partnership of Tristan and Di Michele leading the line. Chelsea left Drogba, Ashley Cole, Ballack and Essien out of their starting line-up.
Chelsea dominated the early satges, their makeshift team looking comfortable across the park. Malouda went close, before Cech denied Dyer, and Tristan had a goalbound effort cleared off the line. Dyer really should have scored in the one-on-one with the keeper. You don't get many chances against teams like Chelsea, and we just did not take ours.
Kalou put Chelsea ahead from Lampard's cross, after some poor defending. You could not really see how we were going to get back in the game after this, but the chance came in the form of the penalty when Kalou pulled back Illunga.
Up stepped Noble, who in an interview with The Guardian had said 'there are worse things than missing penalties', and proptly had his effort saved by Cech.
A real shame, as a Chelsea without Drogba, Ballack and Essien were there for the taking. We were without many of our key players, how we need a fit Ashton, Parker, Behrami, Collison or Cole. Our second-string has been performing well enough, but could not step up when it was required against Chelsea.
Congratulations to (father of the year) Frankie and JT, who managed only to cry a little at the abuse they received from the home faithful. You're always welcome at Upton Park gentlemen.
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola on Frank Lampard:
'They didn't forgive him for leaving.
'Frank is a very good professional, a very good boy and it makes me sorry to think he has a problem with this crowd.'
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink:
'I have rested some players but if I had suggested doing the same to Frank Lampard, well, I didn't even talk to him about it.
'He would have looked at me as if to say, 'Why are you doing that?' These guys with big personalities, they want to play every game.
'Maybe some time in the near future I will have to tell him he's not going to play, but without looking at him I think.'
West Ham: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Boa Morte (Nsereko 72), Noble, Stanislas, Dyer (Sears 61), Tristan, Di Michele (Kovac 61).
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Spector, Payne.
Chelsea: Cech, Mancienne (Ballack 83), Ivanovic, Terry, Bosingwa (Ashley Cole 58), Mikel, Belletti, Kalou (Essien 73), Lampard, Malouda, Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Hilario, Di Santo, Drogba, Stoch.
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Date:Sunday April 26 2009
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