Chelsea’s 100% start to the Premier League season came to an end at West Ham because Eden Hazard was not allowed to influence the game, says Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Blues boss Maurizio Sarri started his Stamford Bridge reign with five straight league wins but his team could not extend that record and had to settle for a goalless draw against battling opponents on Sunday.
Pellegrini – whose side had lost their previous two home league matches – was pleased with how West Ham “allowed Chelsea to have possession” on the right side of the pitch, denying the “dangerous” Marcos Alonso and Hazard much ball on the left.
“We played well tactically because we allowed them to have the ball where we wanted, and we defended well,” said Pellegrini.
“They played most of the game on their right side, so they didn’t create too many chances.”
In the end, Chelsea were grateful for Andriy Yarmokenko’s glaring second-half miss, when he headed wide with only keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to beat and the goal at his mercy, for not suffering their first defeat.
The visitors had chances of their own, with West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski saving well from substitutes Alvaro Morata and Ross Barkley – but in the end a draw was a fair result in a game that rarely sparked into life.
It is a result that drops Chelsea into third place behind Manchester City on goal difference and leaves Liverpool two points clear at the top of the table with a maximum return from their six games.