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Pochettino Rocked As 10-Man West Ham Sink Chelsea

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino suffered his first defeat as Michail Antonio’s superb strike and Enzo Fernandez’s penalty miss condemned the Blues to a 3-1 loss against West Ham on Sunday.

After last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool, Pochettino’s side wasted a lively performance as they paid the price for sloppy defending and wasteful finishing at the London Stadium.

Antonio blasted West Ham’s decisive second goal after half-time and Lucas Paqueta added a late penalty to leave Pochettino still waiting for his first Premier League win since taking charge in the close-season.

Chelsea teenager Carney Chukwuemeka had scored an eye-catching first half equaliser to cancel Nayef Aguerd’s early opener for West Ham.

But the turning point came when Fernandez’s penalty was saved by Alphonse Areola just before the break.

Antonio netted soon after the interval and Chelsea couldn’t respond despite Aguerd’s dismissal for a second booking midway through the half.

Paqueta, reportedly the subject of an FA probe into betting breaches, applied the knockout blow in the final seconds.

Dating back to last season, Chelsea have won just five times in 31 league matches, while their only victory in their last 14 top-flight games came at Bournemouth in May.

They have also lost four successive top-flight London derbies for the first time since 1990.

Much of the blame for those dismal statistics lies with Pochettino’s predecessors Graham Potter and Frank Lampard, who struggled through a turbulent campaign that ended with Chelsea’s lowest finish since 1996.

Pochettino has been tasked with cleaning up the mess, but despite recent signings of Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia taking Chelsea’s total spending under owner Todd Boehly to more than £850 million ($1.08 billion), the squad remains a work in progress.

Putting his faith in a largely youthful team is a gamble from Pochettino, whose side’s lack of experience was exposed in the seventh minute.

James Ward-Prowse’s corner was whipped to the far post, where Morocco defender Aguerd easily evaded Conor Gallagher and Chukwuemeka to nod home from six yards.

Since his Premier League debut in 2012, Ward-Prowse has 25 assists from set-plays, with only Christian Eriksen providing more in the competition over the same period.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=90254

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