LONDON, United Kingdom, Oct 26 – West Ham invigorated their stuttering season with a 2-1 home victory over fierce London rivals Chelsea to surge into the English League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.
In the build-up to the clash there were fears of violence between West Ham and Chelsea fans, and a heavy police presence was in place outside the Hammers’ new London Stadium home.
There was no large-scale disorder prior to the game at the former Olympic stadium, where West Ham — players and fans — have struggled to settle since leaving Upton Park in the summer, but there were reports of seats torn out and thrown between opposing supporters afterwards.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte — looking uncharacteristically casual in sweatshirt and tracksuit bottoms — made several changes to the side that humiliated Jose Mourinho and Manchester United 4-0 on Sunday in the Premier League, with skipper John Terry returning after injury.
It was the veteran defender who had the first real chance of the game, his effort after a corner whizzing over the top of the home goal.
By contrast, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic played more or less his strongest team, with the Hammers needing victory to kick-start their season, particularly at their new home.
On 11 minutes West Ham went ahead when Cheikhou Kouyate met a cross by Mark Noble to score with a thumping header.
Nathaniel Chalobah and N’Golo Kante then had chances for Chelsea, while Manuel Lanzini poked wide for West Ham and Dimitri Payet saw his free-kick well saved by stand-in Blues goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Begovic was keeping Chelsea in the game, this time saving a fierce volley from Pedro Obiang, as West Ham went into the break a goal up.
Moments after the restart the Hammers went 2-0 up, Edimilson Fernandes firing in from outside the box.
Conte sent on the big guns in Pedro, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa as Chelsea ramped up the pressure.
Gary Cahill grabbed a 90th-minute consolation goal to ensure a nervy finale, but West Ham would not be denied their most satisfying victory to date at their new home.