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    Early Marko Arnautovic Goal Ensures Westham Beat Chelsea

    Marko Arnautovic early goal gave the Hammers a deserved win to dent Chelsea's surge for the leauge tittle.

    To have any chance of catching Manchester City this season the pursuing clubs will require a focus that is unwavering, and the Chelsea team that Antonio Conte watched stumble to their first league defeat since Oct 14 did not look even close to the required standards.

    Perhaps it was inevitable that after 12 months of drilling his team to renew their concentration week after week, eventually it would slip for the champions but it was a surprise just how meekly they went in the end. West Ham had a gameplan to contain the threats in the away team but that alone is no guarantee unless those particular assets are as out of tune as they were on this occasion.

    Alvaro Morata lashed a shot wide with seven minutes left when N’Golo Kante had picked him out and Arthur Masuaku had obliged the Chelsea striker by playing him onside but that was about it for Chelsea. This was a good afternoon for David Moyes, one in which his defensive organisation was obvious and his players seemed to respond. The new West Ham manager needed something to change the mood and seeing out a victory over the team in second place at the start of the day is as good as any.

    Eden Hazard was denied the space alongside Morata by a shrewd tactical job from Moyes that had Pedro Obiang defending just in front of his two centre-backs and as the game developed you could see the home team’s confidence growing.
    Moyes had dropped Joe Hart in favour of retaining the Spanish goalkeeper Adrian Lopez, a decision that will have major repercussions for the Englishman in a World Cup season, but clearly the right move. Having had precious little good fortune in his month so far in east London, Moyes saw Marko Arnautovic score his first goal for the club within five minutes from a simple but well-worked move from the right.

    Conte tried to change it, substituting the lamentable Tiemoue Bakayoko at half-time and bringing on Pedro, and then later Willian and Victor Moses to try to give his side some width. But aside from Morata’s chance there were very few times when West Ham’s defence looked like they were under pressure or out of shape.
    They had been applauded off at half-time, an unusual experience for West Ham in a stadium where the empty seats scattered all around the stands at kick-off told their own story of how many here regard the season so far and their new home. In the Sky Sports studio was Jose Fonte, the January signing whom chairman David Sullivan said that his children “begged me not to sign” and the stage seemed set for the usual discord.
    Moyes was delighted to secure his first win as West Ham manager CREDIT: PA
    The goal came within the first five minutes for Arnautovic, his first in this his 13 appearance for the club since joining in the summer. The ball was worked well from the touchline starting with Pablo Zabaleta, to Arnautovic, to Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini and finally back to the Austria international for the delicate job of stroking his shot past Thibaut Courtois.

    As well as dropping Hart, Moyes had left Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew on the bench in favour of playing Antonio on his own up front. It worked well, but also because West Ham’s defensive work was focussed. Winston Reid was fortunate when he grabbed Alvaro Morata’s collar in the area. Otherwise, Chelsea barely had a glimpse of the home goal in the first half and while they had width after the break West Ham were strong in the wide positions.

    Moyes had said in his notes in the programme that West Ham were “capable of working and running as hard as any team in the Premier League” and there seemed evidence of that as they held their shape in the closing stages. The West Ham manager managed to suppress a smile when he shook hands with Conte at the end but after that he enjoyed the first celebration in a long time.

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