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Chelsea vs West Ham: Super subs, VAR help Blues to all 3 points (video)

Kai Havertz applies a classy finishing touch to a well-worked Chelsea free kick routine to get the Blues ahead of West Ham.

Ben Chilwell came off the bench to score and set up a Kai Havertz winner as substitutes -- and a controversial VAR reprieve -- delivered Chelsea a 2-1 win over West Ham United on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

West Ham was denied an immediate equalizer when Maxwel Cornet’s smashed rebound goal was taken away for a controversial Jarrod Bowen foul on Edouard Mendy on the initial shot.


West Ham led 1-0 through Michail Antonio as all the goals came in the second half of a game that snapped to life in the final half-hour.

USMNT forward Christian Pulisic played the first 60 minutes for Chelsea, who heads into its first UEFA Champions League group stage match with three wins, a draw, and two losses. The Blues’ 10 points means they’ll finish the weekend no lower than sixth.

West Ham, meanwhile, can still finish in the bottom three if Aston Villa or Leicester City get positive results this weekend.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

What we learned from Chelsea vs West Ham

Chelsea catches a break as VAR takes away West Ham equalizer: Edouard Mendy’s soft bid to clear a ball out of danger saw a leaping Jarrod Bowen clip the keeper’s arm on his followthrough. Mendy stays down, grabbing his arm, as Maxwel Cornet collects the rebound and lashes the ball upper 90 to give West Ham a 2-2 score line. But VAR asks referee Andy Madley to take a peak at the possible foul, which not a single Chelsea player was protesting. He sees something in the leaping Bowen’s back foot dragging into Mendy and calls it off. Surprising if not shocking, as Chelsea catches a break.

Lucas Paqueta is as advertised: The Brazilian was all over the pitch at the heart of the Irons’ 4-2-3-1. Playing in front of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek -- quite a midfield trio -- Paqueta got stuck into 12 duels, winning 7, while managing four clearances, a blocked shot, two interceptions, and two tackles on a day he highlighted the defensive part of his complete acumen.

Chilwell, Havertz deliver off bench as Pulisic lifted from rare start: Christian Pulisic clapped up the fans as he subbed off of a 0-0 game after 60 minutes, and he couldn’t have been happy as he was far from the reason the game was scoreless. The newly-shorn USMNT man pumped a cross to the top of the six that West Ham’s Kurt Zouma got away from danger early, then had a first-touch shot deflected out for a corner. Pulisic was energetic -- and tidy, completing 24-of-24 passes -- but clearly there was a plan and Tuchel wasn’t swayed from it.

David Moyes reaction: Furious with VAR overturning Cornet equalizer

Moyes accuses Mendy of faking his Injury and lashes out at “one of the supposedly elite referees” as well as whoever advises VAR:

“You have seen it: It is a scandalous decision, absolutely rotten from one of the supposedly elite referees. It doesn’t say much about whoever sent him over from VAR as well. It is an unbelievable decision against us.

“We feel we got back to 2-2 and it was not down to anything we have done. I support a lot of the VAR stuff, I actually think the goalkeeper dives, he is faking an injury because he cannot get to the next one - he did the same on the first goal as well. The referee somehow gets that so wrong it is incredible.”

David Moyes reaction

West Ham United manager David Moyes speaks to referee Andrew Madley after the final whistle of the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Saturday September 3, 2022. (Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

PA Images via Getty Images

Tactical Focus

Chilwell, Havertz deliver off bench: Marc Cucurella was lively at left back but perhaps a bit wasteful, and Ben Chilwell got 18 minutes to rectify the left side. My goodness, did he ever?! The left back deftly tapped a loose ball through the legs of a leaping Lukasz Fabianski to make it 1-1 in the 76th minute and then sent a near-post ping for fellow sub Kai Havertz to direct home. It should be enough for both to get midweek starts if Thomas Tuchel wants to feel better about his rotation (which he should).

Stars of the show

Declan Rice

Thiago Silva

Michail Antonio

Lucas Paqueta

Ben Chilwell

Kurt Zouma

What’s next?

Chelsea’s off to Fulham for the 7:30am ET start on Saturday, while West Ham will host Newcastle at 9am ET one day later.

How to watch Chelsea vs West Ham live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET Saturday
Online: Watch live on Peacock Premium

Key storylines

Chelsea’s players have just one match to get back in-form ahead of the UEFA Champions League group stage. That starts for the Blues at 12:45pm ET Tuesday in Croatia against Dinamo Zagreb.

West Ham is buzzing with improved performances ahead of the UEFA Europa Conference League, a competition which may be its best route back to European competition for the 2023-24 seasons.

In-form players to keep an eye on

Perhaps no West Ham player is in better form than Thomas Soucek. And, of course, ex-Chelsea youth midfielder Declan Rice is an almost everpresent force for the Irons. But Lucas Paqueta, arguably Brazil’s top midfielder, will be under the microscope should he start for David Moyes.

Raheem Sterling has scored Chelsea’s last three goals, playing with great hunger and showcasing both his excellent burst and intelligence. Fellow transfer Marc Cucurella is also in impressive early form.

Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: Reece James (illness), Trevoh Chalobah (knee), N’Golo Kante (thigh)

West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Nayef Aguerd (ankle), Benjamin Johnson (thigh), Craig Dawson (thigh), Gianluca Scamacca (illness)

Follow @NicholasMendola