Breaking news: Thomas Tuchel’s tenacious Blues win in a thrilling comeback thanks to Kai Havertz

Todd Boehly continues to learn English football. One of the many things that Todd Boehly learned at Stamford Bridge Saturday afternoon was that while PS62m may seem like a lot in American sport, in the Premier League it doesn’t get you a fullback who can take a corner and clear the first defender. Marc Cucurella tried several times to do it in the first period, but he was finally successful. He was cheered by the Shed End when he succeeded.

The transfer guru and new Chelsea owner, Chelsea, also discovered that the PS62m left-back might not be as good or as experienced as the one already at the club. Cucurella was expelled to the bench by Ben Chilwell with 18 minutes remaining. He quickly scored an equaliser, setting up the winner of Chelsea’s sketchy win 2-1.

Boehly was probably feeling a severe bout of buyer’s regret as he watched the West Ham team that he had invested the most of his PS231.1m in the summer window go down to defeat. Kai Havertz’s 88th-minute strike may have helped to ease his embarrassment. But it was only a small amount.

Chelsea did not deserve their third win in six games. They would not have won it except for an unusual extra time decision by Andrew Madley to decide what would have been a equalizer by Maxwel Cornet. Madley ruled that Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was fouled during the build-up to the goal.David Moyes, West Ham’s manager, was not happy with the result and began to rant with Madley at half-time. His team, which had led through Michail Antonio’s score, deserved better from this match.

In football’s age where excess is a norm, Chelsea’s summer transfer spending set new standards of extravagantness. After Marina Granovskaia’s departure, Boehly took over the club’s business and his spending was seen as an attempt to convince Chelsea’s supporters of the new regime’s ambitions.

Not everyone was impressed. Graeme Souness, a former Liverpool and Rangers manager, was the latest person in sport to question Boehly’s transfer approach.

Thomas Tuchel's tenacious Blues win in a thrilling comeback thanks to Kai Havertz
Thomas Tuchel

Souness wrote yesterday in his Daily Mail column, “He is the latest in an endless line of wealthy individuals who have come into football believing the game is easy.” He might prove his foolishness by believing he understands it. Send Alex Ferguson to LA Dodgers to take over as manager. He will need to calculate the value of other baseball stars, so he can decide which ones to buy. It would not be possible.

Particularly when Chelsea paid PS62m for Cucurella to Brighton, eyebrows were raised. However, suspicions that other clubs were profiting from Boehly’s naivety weren’t dispelled by Paul Barber, the chief executive of Brighton, who is one among the most successful Premier League transfer negotiators and praised Boehly’s negotiating skills

The first half was incredibly pounderous. West Ham had men in front of the ball, and Chelsea showed little ability to break them down. Cucurella floated around a few corners, Christian Pulisic missed a shot that was deflected wide, and Mateo Kovacic’s snatched attempt sent Lukasz Fabianski sprinting across his goal in false concern.

Sterling tried to at least run at the visitors’ defense but he needed to go deeper and deeper to get it. As the interval approached, Chelsea began to accelerate but was grateful for a low volley by Pablo Fornals. In the last few seconds of the game, Tomas Soucek & Ruben LoftusCheek clashed. This was the closest to gripping goalmouth action for the first 45 minutes. After treatment, they were allowed to continue playing.

After Antonio fouled James, and James kicked at him while he lay down on the ground, Michail Antonio and Reece James were both booked shortly thereafter. James could have been sent home on another day. The two of them were chasing a loose ball when Antonio wrestled Silva to death. Antonio could have received a second yellow on another day.

The game took over an hour to come alive. Mendy kicked Fornals’ corner clear, but Jarrod Bowen hit it sweetly 25 yards out. It took a great flying save by the Chelsea goalkeeper to keep it level.

This was only temporary. Mendy was unable to punch the ball lightly to Declan Rice’s feet after the corner was nailed in the box. Rice returned the ball to the box at six yards, where Antonio grabbed it first and prodded the ball over the line.

Both managers called the changes. Cucurella was one of them. Chilwell replaced him and Chilwell showed everyone why Chelsea spent so much money to replace him.

Chilwell leapt for the chance punt forward by Silva, and not only did he win it but he was also first to it when it dropped. Fabianski ran out to stop the danger, but Chilwell tap it through his legs and it slowly crossed the line. Although it was a terrible goal that West Ham conceded, it was an important victory for the scorer.

West Ham was elated to win the match two minutes later. Substitute Said Benrahma was able to cross the ball down the left side and reach the back post, where Maxwel Cornet waited unmarked. Cornet attempted to direct the ball towards the net, but his header bounced off the post.

The match was now a success despite its inactivity. Chelsea moved the ball to the opposite end and gave Chilwell a corner. Chilwell crossed to the near post, where Kai Havertz received it first. Fabianski then slotted it past it to give Chelsea the lead.

Although it seemed that the game was over, Chelsea managed to find a way for the visitors to continue the game as the clock ran out. James tried to pass the ball to Mendy, but Bowen challenged him and Mendy couldn’t push the ball to Cornet. Cornet moved to his right and rifled for the ball in the roof of the net.

As one, the West Ham bench jumped into the air. But Mendy was still hurting and rolling on the ground. VAR checked whether Bowen had fouled Mendy in the build-up to the goal. Although it seemed obvious that Mendy wouldn’t have been able to recover the ball foul or not, referee Andrew Madley looked at the monitor and determined that the ref was wrong and that Mendy had been fouled. The goal should not stand. Moyes and his team were shocked by the decision.

Havertz was given a yellow card in the final stages for trying to send Vladimir Coufal off. Moyes marched to Madley’s side, and one of Tuchel’s assistants removed a little bit of sweat from his forehead.


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