Premier League: Struggling Chelsea held 1-1 at West Ham
Chelsea was held to a 1-1 draw at West Ham United on Saturday as Joao Felix’s opener was cancelled out by ex-Blues defender Emerson Palmieri, leaving Graham Potter’s expensively assembled team still a long way from a top-four spot.
Felix returned to the team after the on-loan Portuguese winger was sent off in his debut for Chelsea last month and in the 16th minute, he side-footed home a pinpoint cross by British record signing Enzo Fernandez, one of the many new faces at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea sought to extend its lead but it was its former wing-back Emerson who equalised in the 28th minute when he arrived unmarked at the far post to meet a headed flick-on by Jarrod Bowen and shoot past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
In a second half of few chances, Tomas Soucek put the ball in the back of the net in the 82nd minute but Declan Rice, who headed the ball onto the Czech, was ruled offside by VAR.
A few minutes later, Chelsea appealed in vain for a penalty, claiming substitute Conor Gallagher’s shot was stopped by Soucek’s hand.
The draw meant Chelsea has now won only one of its last seven league games – and it has not won away since October. It stayed ninth in the table, nine points behind fourth-place Newcastle, which has played a game less.
West Ham climbed up to 15th but are only two points ahead of Everton, the highest-placed team in the relegation spots.