West Ham: Bilic slams further crowd violence; Chelsea victory reaction; tough EFL Cup draw
There were ugly scenes once again at the London Stadium as home and away fans clashed despite a heavy stewarding presence and a police presence inside the ground for the very first time. Manager Slaven Bilic was asked about the violence and told the Mirror:
“Whatever happened we are totally against it, as a club. For those kind of things to happen especially in England is unacceptable. I can say only that I noticed it. I was more concentrated on telling Aaron Cresswell not to watch it and to watch the game.”
Police and club bosses had been working hard to avoid any further unrest, but that was not enough in the first major fixture to be player at the London Stadium since the move in the summer, which will only cause further concerns when other big teams come to Stratford later on in the season.
On the field, a Cheikhou Kouyate header gave the Hammers a perfect start as the Irons saw off Chelsea with Edimilson Fernandes adding a second just after the break to ensure that Gary Cahill’s injury time strike was no more than a consolation effort, with a strong West Ham line-up seeing off a rotated Blues line-up. Slaven Bilic told the press:
“I can’t say we were perfect but we had a plan and the guys executed it in a great way. We were good in defending as a unit. We were really good in keeping the ball and stretching them and playing wide. In the first half it was great and I think we deserved to be more than one up.”
An added bonus saw the return of Andre Ayew to action as he came on as a substitute to make his home debut for the club, having limped off injured when the two sides clashed in the Premier League on the opening day of the season and spent the time since then recovering from a serious thigh injury.
However, it wasn’t all good news as the Hammers were drawn up against Manchester United in the EFL Cup quarter-final as they will face a long trip to Old Trafford in late November hoping to qualify for the cup semi-final. The Red Devils fell to a 3-2 defeat in what was the final game at Upton Park last season, but the Irons have failed to win at Old Trafford since 2007, with two wins in 2001 their only other victories in Manchester since 1986 as part of just eight victories in the post-war era.
It will be a tough challenge up against Jose Mourinho’s megastars, particularly as the Portuguese boss is seeking an exciting cup run to distract from the team’s poor start to the season in the Premier League after a summer of heavy spending.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne.