Chelsea drops first points with West Ham draw

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Chelsea lost its 100 percent English Premier League record when London rival West Ham United held it to a 0-0 draw yesterday.
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Reuters

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri reacts as West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during their English Premier League match at London Stadium yesterday. It ended 0-0.

Chelsea lost its 100 percent English Premier League record when London rival West Ham United held it to a 0-0 draw yesterday.

Needing a two-goal win to depose Liverpool at the top of the table, Chelsea struggled to make clear chances at London Stadium despite having the majority of possession and stayed third behind the Merseysiders and champion Manchester City.

The home side could have punished Chelsea but Michail Antonio, who was deputizing for the injured Marko Arnautovic, missed two first-half chances and Andriy Yarmolenko headed wastefully wide.

West Ham, with only one win so far from its six matches, remains 17th, one place above the relegation zone.

Despite having barely 30 percent of possession in the first half, West Ham finally came alive after 30 minutes with two good chances for Antonio.

Sent through by record signing Felipe Anderson he shot too high but then forced Kepa Arrizabalaga — the world’s most expensive goalkeeper — into a good save after being set up by Yarmolenko.

For all its dominance, Chelsea made barely one real opportunity before the interval when N’Golo Kante arrived to head wide from Willian’s smart volleyed cross.

In the second half it was two of Chelsea’s substitutes who went closest. Alvaro Morata’s first attempt hit goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in the face and later Ross Barkley’s curler was also kept out by the home goalkeeper.

Chelsea’s third substitute was experienced defender Gary Cahill, getting a first opportunity under new manager Maurizio Sarri when replacing the injured Antonio Rudiger.

The best chance of the game, however, fell West Ham’s way when Yarmolenko was alone at the far post to meet a perfect cross from Robert Snodgrass, but put his header wide.

After losing its first four games but winning at Everton last weekend, West Ham is showing signs of improvement.

“Signing nine players and with a new manager it was always going to be difficult,” Antonio told Sky Sports.

“Now we’re starting to gel.”

Chelsea has another chance to knock Liverpool off the top when they meet at Stamford Bridge on Saturday — three days after the clubs play in the League Cup at Anfield.

On Saturday, EPL newcomers Wolverhampton Wanderers turned party-poopers on the day Alex Ferguson made an emotional return to Old Trafford.

The most successful coach in British soccer history was back at his former stamping ground for the first time since undergoing emergency brain surgery in May. But Manchester United was unable to mark the occasion with a win as it was held 1-1 by Wolverhampton.

Ferguson received a standing ovation from the crowd of 74,000 when he took his seat in the directors’ box before the game. He reacted with a wide grin and by raising his arms to salute the crowd. “It’s great to be back,” the 76-year-old Scot said. “It’s obviously been a long journey but I’m making steps forward, doing what my son tells me, and what the doctors tell me.

“It was important getting the right time and the right rest before coming to a game. The number of emails, texts, and personal cards that came to the house, it was just amazing. I’m overcome by it and overwhelmed by it.”

Ferguson retired in 2013, after amassing 38 trophies in almost 27 years at United.

Meanwhile, Liverpool moved alone to the top of the standings and stayed perfect after beating Southampton 3-0 for a sixth win in six matches.

City was second overall after routing Cardiff City 5-0.

Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka was hit by a bottle in a goalless home draw with Newcastle United, Tottenham overcame Brighton 2-1 in the rain, and Burnley ended its worst start to a topflight campaign in nearly a century by crushing top-five side Bournemouth 4-0. Fulham and Watford drew 1-1 while Leicester City won 3-1 over visiting Huddersfield.

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