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5 Things Learned: West Ham 3-2 Chelsea | Premier League

What did we learn from Chelsea's 2-3 loss at West Ham?

Chelsea travelled to the London Stadium for the early kick-off, with hopes of extending their one point lead at the top of the table ahead of the weekend. Jorginho and Reece James returned to the starting XI after recovering from minor knocks, whereas Romelu Lukaku hasn't recovered fully from an injury sustained in October to start, and began on the bench. 

The game began in a stop-start fashion, neither side able to gain control, before Thiago Silva scored his second goal of the season with a fine header just before the half-hour mark to put the Blues ahead. West Ham soon equalised via Manuel Lanzini's spot kick after individual errors from Jorginho and Edouard Mendy, before a fantastic effort from Mason Mount restored the Chelsea lead just before half-time. 

Lukaku was introduced to replace the injured Kai Havertz at half-time, hoping to build some momentum ahead of a busy schedule. Jarrod Bowen equalised in the 55th minute, forcing the Blues to go on the attack in search of a winner. Despite constant pressure, a deflected effort from Arthur Masauku caught Edouard Mendy off guard to put the Hammers ahead in the 86th minute, snatching the three points.

Here's five things we learned from Chelsea's 3-2 loss at West Ham:

1) This is Chelsea's best back three

With Trevoh Chalobah picking up an injury in Wednesday's 1-2 win over Watford, Chelsea deployed their traditional back three, with Thiago Silva providing seniority and experience in the centre, glancing in the opener on the 28th minute, Antonio Rudiger able to burst forward down the left-hand flank, and Andreas Christensen doing a bit of everything - the Dane returning to the XI after the standoff in his recent contract negotiations. Although Chelsea hope Chalobah returns to fitness as soon as possible, with Cesar Azpilicueta also providing a versatile option off the bench, this is arguably Chelsea's finest defensive trio - with a perfect combination of different traits and skills. All three players featured in Chelsea's run to the Champions League final last season, as well as in the final in Porto in May, and will be crucial in any success the club accrue this season. 

2) Mount and Ziyech show their quality

Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech have both have relatively slow starts to the 2021/22 campaign after suffering respective injuries, although both players continued their positive momentum after scoring in the win over Watford, and made a case for retaining their place in the starting XI. After a goal and assist at Vicarage Road, Mount repeated this feat with an assist for Thiago Silva, and a beautifully taken goal to put Chelsea ahead at 1-2. Ziyech was also superb in the first half, setting up Mount's finish with a fine diagonal ball, before he was replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 63rd minute. 

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3) Class is temporary, form is permanent. Exhibit A: Thiago Silva

It's hard to believe Thiago Silva turned 37 in September; the Brazillian has started seven consecutive Premier League games, as well as versus Juventus in the Champions League, and has arguably been one of the best centre-backs in the league so far this season. Silva proved his quality in both attack and defence in the first half - scoring the opener, before recovering to clear off the line shortly after, as well as completing 86% of his passes, including two long balls. Speculation continues regarding another one-year contract extension; this would be a fine bit of business for the Blues, and appears to be a no brainer, given both his on-field quality, and experience and leadership in the dressing room. 

4) Mateo Kovacic and N'golo Kante are missed in midfield

Kovacic and Kante have both been absent in midfield in recent weeks with respective injuries, and the Blues sorely miss their presence in the middle of the park. Ruben Loftus-Cheek partnered Jorginho today, and also played alongside Saul in midweek with the Italian ruled out. After a positive start to the season, Loftus-Cheek's momentum appears to be slowing, whereas Saul has been subbed off at half-time in both Premier League games he's started. Ross Barkley provides another option, although he may depart in the January window. Chelsea's rotation of Kante and Kovacic with Jorginho was crucial to their European triumph last season, and Thomas Tuchel will hope he can rely on these players in the coming months if Chelsea are to replicate this level of success. 


5) The future is uncertain for Timo Werner

Werner was an unused substitute, and his involvement in the first-team has been dwindling in recent weeks - only playing 82 minutes in the last seven league games. The German has only scored one and assisted one in 471 league minutes this season so far, averaging a contribution every 235 minutes, a poor return for a striker that cost £47.5 million, and scored 34 goals in all competitions in the final season in Germany. With Werner linked to the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in recent weeks, as well as Man Utd under Ralf Rangnick, it would be a surprise to see the forward at Chelsea next season, unless he seriously picks up some goals and assists before May 2022. 

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