West Ham fans have not had it easy lately.
Comedic goalkeeping gaffes, shocking results and humiliating social media videos have left the Hammers feeling blue and looking very claret in the face.
So, going into Saturday’s trip to Stamford Bridge, there wasn’t much hope among the West Ham fanbase. The London derby was being tipped as Manuel Pellegrini’s final game in charge, with the entire London Stadium growing tired of his side’s lifeless performances.
Meanwhile, Chelsea were absolutely flying under Frank Lampard, and had only suffered defeats to the Premier League elite sides. A routine home victory on the cards, then?
Many were furious that Pellegrini had picked Aaron Cresswell at left-back, which definitely wouldn’t comeback to haunt them in about an hour or so….
1. Why Cresswell over Masuaku.
2. Why Snodgrass over Haller.
3. Why is Antonio a lone striker when he can’t play there.
4. Why is Pellegrini still in charge?
— Alan Rzepa (@alanrzepa) November 30, 2019
If we take a battering today, which I expect we will do, then Pellegrini has to go and it must be done quickly.
That team selection is absolutely dreadful and he is just begging to be beaten again.
— West Ham Fan Zone (@WHUFCFZ) November 30, 2019
A cagey opening 45 minutes ended goalless, as the Hammers looked surprisingly solid at the back, and matched their superior hosts in all departments.
Then – a breakthrough.
GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 WEST HAM (CRESSWELL)
It’s Aaron Cresswell! West Ham take the lead at Stamford Bridge – this will be a huge boost to the beleaguered Pellegrini.
The left-back cuts in on his right and manages to bend it into the bottom corner past Kepa. Lovely, lovely strike. pic.twitter.com/CvVbPEG30I
— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) November 30, 2019
Would you believe it, West Ham’s Cresswell (remember him from before?) carved open the Chelsea defence and slotted beyond Kepa to send the Hammers into delirium.
Cresswell have my children
— Pellegrini Out ❌ (@deccers_tekkers) November 30, 2019
Of course, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and West Ham’s lead meant a possible reprieve for the least popular man in East London.
West Ham’s third choice keeper David Martin was the star of the show, replacing the under-fire Roberto, and pulling off an unbelievable double save to keep the Hammers in front.
Why wasn’t Roberto dropped weeks ago? Martin isn’t as scary when balls out wide or corners & can actually communicate with the defense.
I’d honestly sack Pellegrini just for sticking with Roberto beyond game 3 or 4 after Fab got injured.
— Brownie (@WestHamMatters) November 30, 2019
ANNOUNCE DAVID MARTIN LIFETIME CONTRACT
— Andrew Kane (@AndrewKane221) November 30, 2019
West Ham fans cheering David Martin catching a cross like we’ve just scored.
— Michael Bailey (@mikebailey92) November 30, 2019
For a brief and wonderful minute or so, West Ham thought they had doubled their advantage, Michail Antonio scoring his second goal in two games. The mysterious creature that is VAR intervened however, sparing Chelsea’s blushes and putting the game back in the balance.
Chelsea borrowing a leaf from Liverpool with VAR
— Trish. (@Nonnie_Macharia) November 30, 2019
But West Ham held on to a famous and impressive victory over their London rivals at Stamford Bridge, relieving the pressure on Pellegrini…for the time being.