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Chelsea 5 West Ham 0: Blues pushing for Europe as pressure grows on David Moyes



CHELSEA got in some early Thursday – Sunday practice as they mount a late charge for Europe.

And there were no signs of ‘Europa League fatigue’ as they ignored tired bodies to sweep abject West Ham aside.


Nicolas Jackson scored a brace to make it three goals in two gamesCredit: Getty
Jackson looks to be growing in confidence


Jackson looks to be growing in confidenceCredit: Getty
Typically, Palmer opened the scoring for Chelsea


Typically, Palmer opened the scoring for ChelseaCredit: Reuters

Just three days after beating Tottenham, head coach Mauricio Pochettino rallied his young players to claim a second London derby win in succession.

This rout lifts Chelsea into seventh place where they are perched on Newcastle’s shoulders just points behind with three games each to play.

From heading towards mid-table insignificance, there is suddenly a lot to play for in the final fortnight of a turbulent season.

But there is also now a big dilemma facing Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly amid speculation Pochettino will be sacked in the summer.

If the Argentine can add Europa League qualification to the Carabao Cup final and a Wembley semi final in the FA Cup in his first year in charge while juggling a crippling injury list, it makes it hard to relieve the manager of his duties.

Not so his opposite number David Moyes over in East London.

With his contract up in just a few weeks and already under the cosh from West Ham purists over his style of football, this looks like a gloomy goodbye.

Chairman David Sullivan is already talking to potential successors and with the away end at Stamford Bridge half empty still with 40 minutes left, the Scot, who won this club its first trophy for 43 years last summer, looks set to depart.

Chelsea fans will be hoping this isn't one of the last times they see Gallagher at The Bridge


Chelsea fans will be hoping this isn’t one of the last times they see Gallagher at The BridgeCredit: AP
The midfielder took his volley well


The midfielder took his volley wellCredit: Getty


Despite earlier hitting the bar twice, sub James Ward-Prowse’s 57th minute free kick was their first effort on target.

They had a whole week to rest up and prepare for a match which was vital to their own fading hopes of a fourth successive European campaign.

Instead they turned in a performance that is just another nail in Moyes’ coffin as his second stint as manager nears a dispiriting end.

Even though his team had played just three nights’ previous, Pochettino kept the same starting line up bar one.

Departing defender Thiago Silva was brought back in at the expense of blossoming rookie Alfie Gilchrist.

At 39, it is now a risk relying on Silva’s ageing knees at the back and to be fair, although West Ham were largely a shambles in the first half, the problems were at the back.

That is where The Hammers chucked it all away. For a manager who prides himself on defence first, the stats make gruesome reading for boss Moyes.

Only the Premier League’s bottom three have conceded more goals than West Ham this season.

Pressure is growing on David Moyes, with other candidates being interviewed for his job


Pressure is growing on David Moyes, with other candidates being interviewed for his jobCredit: AP

Injuries to centre halfs Nayef Aguerd and Konstantinos Mavropanos are forcing creaky Angelo Ogbonna to hold the line at the back alongside skipper Kurt Zouma.

It’s no great surprise that two of the first three goals at least were down to costly defensive slips.

Zouma and 35-year-old Angelo Ogbonna could not deal with the pace of Chelsea’s pacey attackers who defied the lactic acid in their thighs to whip balls in at speed.

And after 15 minutes, Palmer, celebrating his 22nd birthday tomorrow, made the breakthrough from such a move.

Zouma was first to Noni Madueke’s low centre into the box but his loose touch sent the ball straight towards Chelsea’s top scorer, who curled home his shot with a precise touch.

Sixty seconds later Bowen rapped the woodwork from a corner. But then it was the same story as Palmer prodded a ball into the box.

Zouma got there first but under pressure could only poke the ball to Conor Gallagher who doubled the lead in a similar way to the opening goal.

Madueke, brim full of confidence, was tormenting West Ham and is emerging as a formidable young force in this markedly improving Chelsea team.

Madueke is continuing his fine run of form


Madueke is continuing his fine run of formCredit: Getty

The England under-21 winger went close before finally hitting the target himself

Mykahilo Mudryk’s corner sailed to the back post where Trevoh Chalobah was unmarked to head it down.

Madueke was in space to stoop and nod the ball into the net from just a couple of yards out nine minutes from the break.

Many Hammers’ fans promptly departed for an early half-time pint on the concourse and missed Bowen smacking the woodwork again.

When Jackson made it 4-0 just three minutes into the second half, most of them left for good and who can blame them as their team was falling apart right in front of their eyes?

To rub it in, Jackson got his second and Chelsea’s fifth with ten to go after West Ham hit the bar for a third time.

Pochettino was able to start rolling out some of his recovering crocks for the final third of the game with the match resembling training.

To be honest, he could have brought on the Chelsea pensioners and still got the better of West Ham.

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