London derbies are always a bit of a challenge for Chelsea (with the exception of Arsenal and Tottenham of course). Beating lower sides from London haven’t always been easy, but before we met West Ham on Saturday, there seemed to be hope the story might change mostly because we’d had a decent run in recent weeks, so it was expected the momentum would help us best our London rivals, but it wasn’t to be. Instead of the smooth victory we expected, it was another difficult and disappointing outing. West Ham had a game plan— defend, get a goal, and shut out the opposition. It worked for them because they ran out winners of the fixture. Of course, it wasn’t a deserved victory, but then, its football; sometimes, it’s not who plays best that wins.
We had a really good game, and could have easily won the game with a very impressive margin, but for ill luck. Our forwards seemed to have not gone to the game with their scoring boots. So many chances came to us, but they were all spurned.
The game is over, and we move on to the next, but one can’t help but imagine what could have been if we won West Ham Saturday. Winning would have put us level on points with Manchester United, who lost 2-1 in the Manchester derby on Sunday while also ensuring we maintain the difference in points with City. The loss to West Ham means we failed to capitalize on United losing the derby and also failing farther behind league leaders Manchester City. Chelsea are now 14 points behind City even though it’s just December. Of course, the league is still a long way from being over, and so much can still happen, but it’s always better to seize opportunities when they come because you’re not sure what the next fixture holds.
We will fight until the end because we’re Chelsea, but I’m not sure we still have the race in our favor. If we managed to win by the end of the season, it would be because somehow City blew it all away.