Stewards and police formed a barrier around the travelling Chelsea fans, following the trouble at the EFL Cup tie between the two clubs earlier this season. But a West Ham supporter managed to get himself over the barriers to mouth off at the Chelsea players after Eden Hazard had given his side the lead.
Fortunately, there was so much distance for the angry fan to cover before he could get to the pitch that stewards managed to get to him and David Luiz helped the restraining process. West Ham have worked hard to try to solve their security and stewarding problems, but there should never have been a situation where a fan got so close to Chelsea’s stars.
Goals win football matches and, traditionally, goalscorers win the individual awards. All of the last five Players of the Year have been goalscorers and you have to go back to Scott Parker in 2011 to find a combative midfielder who was honoured.
But N’Golo Kante may well break the run of the goal-getters, as Chelsea’s man with three lungs once again displayed his importance by making the interception that set Eden Hazard on his way to open the scoring. Kante is on course to win his second successive Premier League title and that alone deserves recognition. Rarely has there been a better £30million spent on a player – if ever.
The title is in sight
It will not be long before Chelsea can concentrate on the FA Cup as they stride towards the Premier League title. This was another significant step and seemed to extinguish any small hope Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City still harboured of catching Antonio Conte’s men. Chelsea had actually started slowly at the London Stadium, but they caught West Ham with a sucker punch and killed them off five minutes after the break.
The Blues are so clinical that it is impossible to imagine they can implode and the only remaining question seems to be whether Conte’s team can go on to complete a League and Cup double. You wouldn’t bet against them.
Man of the Match
Chelsea’s midfielder was here, there and everywhere. There was a moment in the first half when Kante passed the ball to himself up the left flank before finding Eden Hazard in space. He really is like an extra man for Chelsea and allows Antonio Conte’s team to hit opponents on the break.
What next for West Ham?
Having survived the turmoil of the first half of the season, the Hammers can still target a top-half finish. A new contract for Michail Antonio, who was suspended for the Chelsea game, should be a priority.
What next for Chelsea?
Trophies. The Premier League title has been theirs to lose since the New Year and now Chelsea can book an FA Cup semi-final place by beating Manchester United.
Antonio Conte will hope to finish his first season in England with the Double.