The Hammers went into the weekend facing questions over whether they could cling on to fourth place after a run of three games without a win in the Premier League. This was some response, sealed by Arthur Masuaku’s bizarre winner.
David Moyes’s band of brothers have now beaten Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea at home in the League this season – and that’s before you get onto their scalps in the Carabao Cup and fine progress in Europe.
This was not even West Ham at their best, either. They can play better football but showed a remarkable amount of fight, and benefited from a stroke of luck, in downing the European champions.
Moyes has built great grit and resilience into this West Ham squad, with huge characters across the pitch.
Jarrod Bowen perhaps epitomises everything the Scot wants from his side. The 24-year-old’s strike may have only been his third in the League this season but Bowen offers far more than just goals.
The winger, who has been tracked by England manager Gareth Southgate this season, was a menacing presence throughout against Chelsea, chasing loose ball after loose ball and drawing plenty of mistakes out of the back line.
Bowen made more sprints (25) than any other player on the pitch and was constantly nipping at the visiting defence. The former Hull City man, who started out at Hereford United as a youngster, intercepted a poor ball out the back from Thiago Silva inside the opening ten minutes to set the tone.
On that occasion Bowen fired wide, but he would cause more trouble in the first half, charging Edouard Mendy after a sloppy ball back from Jorginho and winning the penalty from which Manuel Lanzini levelled.
After Chelsea had regained the lead through Mason Mount’s superb volley, Bowen took things into his own hands and fired a fine low effort into the far corner from 18-yards, the sort of finish his game can lack at times, as was evidenced when he could only poke Michail Antonio’s powerful cross wide on the stretch before firing over from close range. Tough chances but ones a top level player takes.
Should he put those away on a more consistent basis, West Ham will have one hell of a talent on their hands. The goals will come should Bowen continue to play like this, for now Moyes will be more than content with his humble hard worker.
“I thought Jarrod was the one who stood out with his level of performance,” said Moyes.
“I though he played really well, I thought it was the best Jarrod has been for a while. Getting his goal, he could have scored one to make it 4-2 and he earns us a penalty kick by getting to the goalkeeper.
“Jarrod’s form has been a little bit up and down and today was back to the levels that we expect from him.”
Bowen’s goal was the first time Chelsea have conceded more than one goal in a game this season before Masuaku’s mishit shot caught Edouard Mendy off guard at the near post in the 87th minute to seal West Ham’s first League win in almost a month.
Moyes’s resolve that West Ham can maintain their challenge for Champions League places will be tested should injuries to Kurt Zouma and Ben Johnson prove serious.
Should Moyes need January additions to cover his losses, however, he could not be in a stronger position to march into the boardroom and ask for backing next month.