Chelsea tightened their grip on third place in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over 10-man West Ham United on Sunday, while Christian Pulisic made up for the 90th minute winner at Stamford Bridge for a missed penalty from team-mate Jorginho.
Substitute Pulisic arrived in the penalty area just in time to lead home a superb pass for Marcos Alonso shortly after Jorginho missed his chance from the penalty spot, firing straight at West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
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West Ham defender Craig Dawson, one of the squad’s best players in the much-changed squad, received a red card after a check by the video assistant referee after a clumsy foul on substitute Romelu Lukaku resulted in a penalty.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have ended a run of two consecutive home defeats – against Brentford and Arsenal – but it’s their offensive line, not defense, that will worry the coach ahead of the last few games.
“[Tuchel] I just said to make a difference; To bring together and create opportunities. “It feels good to be safer in the top four,” Pulisic, who replaced Timo Werner in the 76th minute, told Sky Sports.
“We needed to win at home, and that feels great in front of our fans. We need to finish the season strong… Some good league games and then a final. [in the FA Cup against Liverpool]. I needed to get in and make a difference and show that I wanted to play.”
Seventh-placed West Ham have made six changes to their starting line-up with a focus on Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt, a competition that offers them the best chance of reaching the Champions League next season.
They looked their way to secure a point after N’Golo Kante’s skewed effort and Trevoh Chalobah’s long-range missile parried off Fabianski, before Werner fired wide from a tight angle in the second half of a game that had few chances.
With this win, Chelsea are five points ahead of Arsenal, who are in fourth place, with a game in hand against Mikel Arteta’s team. They can boost their position with a win over struggling Manchester United on Thursday.