Maurizio Sarri's 100 per cent start to life as Chelsea manager is over after his side failed to make the most of its superiority in a 0-0 Premier League draw at West Ham on Sunday.
Sarri was aiming to become only the third manager ever to win his first six Premier League games in charge, but the Hammers frustrated the visitor and dug deep to hold on to a commendable point.
Despite spending much of the first half under pressure, West Ham actually crafted the better chances, but Michail Antonio – starting in place of the injured Marko Arnautovic – squandered two presentable opportunities.
Alvaro Morata and Andriy Yarmolenko wasted glorious chances at either end after the interval, though opportunities were otherwise a rare commodity in the second half and the Hammers' rearguard action kept Chelsea at bay.
For all of Chelsea's first-half domination, clear-cut chances were hard to come by and it was nearly punished by West Ham just before the half-hour mark, but Antonio blazed wide after exquisite play by Felipe Anderson.
Kepa Arrizabalaga then kept Chelsea level a few moments later, blocking Antonio's close-range effort following a driving Yarmolenko run.
Chelsea finished the half with a flourish, but N'Golo Kante's header from Willian's cross went just wide.
The visitor looked tighter defensively after the break and should have taken the lead just after the hour – Morata's prodded effort blocked by Lukasz Fabianski's face from point-blank range following his introduction for the ineffective Olivier Giroud.
Yarmolenko missed an even better chance 12 minutes from time, heading wide of a gaping goal from Robert Snodgrass' delivery and that proved to be last opening as the spoils were shared.
What it means: Hammers show steel and style
By no means was West Ham exceptional on Sunday, but in recent years it has made a habit of caving in on themselves and looking lacking the bite often shown by captain Mark Noble.
Against an in-form Chelsea, Manuel Pellegrini's men looked up for a scrap while also catching the eye with a few impressive moments in the final third courtesy of Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson.
After starting the season with four straight defeats, four points from two games shows a little progress and an indication it is starting to click under its new coach.
Willian willing in attack
Creativity was not one of Chelsea's strong points against West Ham's deep defence, as it struggled to find a way through consistently. Willian was at least a threat, however, using the ball well on the right flank and coming inside to good effect, creating six chances for his team-mates. He failed to inspire a goal, however.
Giroud kept under wraps
France international Giroud has not had a great start to the season. His presence allowed Chelsea to go direct if necessary, but he spurned two half-chances in the first period and thereafter he hardly featured before being replaced by Morata. He remains without a Premier League goal since the start of May.
After hosting League Two's Macclesfield Town in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, West Ham will welcome Manchester United to the London Stadium. Chelsea is in cup action on the same day as the Hammers, though its trip to Liverpool promises to be more of a test. It then faces the Reds again in the league at Stamford Bridge three days later.
- Hockey India names 24-member men’s team for Five Nations Tournament Valencia 2023
- U Mumba vs UP Yoddhas LIVE Score, Pro Kabaddi League 2023: UP inflicts all out on Mumba to reduce lead: UM 31-27 UPY
- Mohun Bagan beats Hyderabad FC highlights, HFC 0-2 MBSG ISL 2023-24, Hamill and Asish score for the Mariners
- India loses 2-3 to Belgium in Women’s Junior Hockey World Cup
- Indian sports news wrap, December 2: Rethin, Aishi win ITF junior titles; Elavenil clinches shooting nationals gold