Ray Wilkins tributes held by Chelsea ahead of West Ham match

09 April, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • Antonio Conte left hurt, angry and sad by Chelsea's disastrous title defence

Respects paid, Chelsea had to focus on finding a way to end a damaging run of one win from their previous four league matches. One ball, from Arthur Masuaku in the opening stages, was excellent and briefly seemed to be dispatched towards goal, first-time, by Arnautovic in the style of Robin van Persie. But today, we must win this game.

The old maestro would have enjoyed much of the football as Cesar Azpilicueta put his beloved Blues ahead but not the way they missed a hatful of chances to allow West Ham back into the game, making Chicharito's late leveller nearly predictable. This describes it very well. A good performance, yes, but many times we have had a good performance and lost the game, or drew the game, many times we've had a good performance but not won the game.

This is the same group of players who triumphed so spectacularly in the Premier League last season, and while Conte can legitimately complain about the poor quality of new arrivals last summer, it's still incredible that Chelsea are now seemingly only fighting with Arsenal to finish fifth.

Victory at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening would see Pep Guardiola's swashbuckling side clinch the title with more games to spare than any other side in English top-flight history. "We must be realistic to understand the reality".

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'This game you must win this game if you want reach the target of reaching the Champions League.

'It was my prediction (that we would struggle) and I now stop. "We had the opportunity to reduce the gap to Tottenham", said Conte.

"I predicted it would be very hard for me at the start of the season".

'Everybody knows what Chicharito is capable of, he's a great penalty box striker.

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West Ham were nearly pegged back again on 79 minutes as Marcos Alonso fired a long range effort but Joe Hart produced a brilliant save to deny the Spanish defender.

A video was also played on the Stamford Bridge big-screen from the likes of Frank Lampard, Carlo Cudicini and John Terry.

'Maybe on another day we get a penalty late on as well. You have to try always [to worry] that the players have confidence, that they are sad, how do you make them happy?

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Also, even once the main line of storms moves through we could still have the chance for overrunning showers Saturday afternoon. A comfortably cool April night is on tap for Alabama, temperatures will drop into the mid and upper 40s by sunrise Thursday.

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