EPL

Joe Hart shows his quality as West Ham gain a point at Stamford Bridge

8th April 2018, Stamford Bridge, London, England; EPL Premier League football, Chelsea versus West Ham United; Olivier Giroud of Chelsea disappointed after the final whistle as Goalkeeper Joe Hart of West Ham United consoles the Chelsea forward (Photo by John Patrick Fletcher/Action Plus via Getty Images)
Joe Hart shows his quality as West Ham gain a point at Stamford Bridge

Joe Hart has been criticised a fair bit over the past few years, unfairly in my opinion, but he showed that form is temporary and class is permanent with a number of world class saves that helped the Hammers come back and get a point against Chelsea.

This performance will have given Gareth Southgate an even bigger dilemma for the Goalkeeper situation at the upcoming World Cup for England. Hart is now showing signs of picking up some good form at an important time of the season after a difficult couple of years.

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Cesar Azpilicueta put the Premier League Champions in front in the first half just after Joe Hart made a fine save by denying Willian with his feet. With the ball bouncing around, Azpilicueta was able to stab the ball home from close range and dedicate the goal to former Chelsea and England midfielder Ray Wilkins who died the week of the game at the age of 61.

In the second half Hart was called upon a number of times and made two world class saves; one from a powerful Marcos Alonso shot and the other from an Olivier Giroud header. Morata had the ball in the back of the net twice but both were ruled out for offside. Chelsea had a number of chances to extend their lead but couldn’t take them and this came back to haunt them.

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Substitute Javier Hernandez scored a great goal after a poor header from Gary Cahill and then Marko Arnautovic played it back to the Mexican who used the Chelsea defenders as a shield and curled the ball into the bottom corner with only their third touch in the Chelsea box.

After this goal, the game became very open and end-to-end with both teams having chances. West Ham had strong claims for a penalty when N’golo Kante brought down Arnautovic and didn’t seem to make any contact with the ball but the referee waved play on.

This draw leaves Chelsea staring at Europa League football in the face with 4th place Spurs 10 points ahead after their hard fought victory away to Stoke with only six games to go. West Ham are not clear of relegation yet being six points clear of the drop zone and the Hammers host fellow strugglers Stoke City in their next game.

Chelsea still have the possibility of winning silverware this year with their upcoming FA cup semi-final but it may not be enough to save Antonio Conte’s job with the constant ongoing speculation about his future.

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