Hammers deal blow to Rafael Benitez
Late goals by substitutes Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga gave West Ham United a 3-1 win over Chelsea in the Premier League yesterday to further complicate life for Blues interim coach Rafael Benitez.
Juan Mata scored the first goal of the Benitez era to put Chelsea ahead but former Chelsea youth-team player Carlton Cole equalised before Diame and Maiga struck to condemn the visitors to a seventh league game without victory.
Chelsea have drawn twice and lost once since Benitez took over and they trail leaders Manchester United by seven points, having played a game more, while West Ham rise to seventh.
"At this level, you have to take your chances, and we had many clear chances to finish the game," Benitez said. "In the second half, we were not winning the first ball or the second ball and we didn't have the control we had in the first half."
The arrival of the 11th minute at Upton Park saw Fernando Torres' league goal drought tick beyond the 11-hour mark, but two minutes later he teed up Mata for Chelsea's opener with an astute cut-back.
West Ham introduced Diame and Matt Taylor at the interval and after an enterprising start to the second period, they drew level in the 63rd minute when Matt Jarvis' deflected cross was nodded in by Cole.
Both sides threatened thereafter, with Mata hitting the post from a free kick, but it was manager Sam Allardyce's side who prevailed.
Diame met Cole's lay-off with a crisp low drive in the 86th minute before a misplaced pass from Ashley Cole let West Ham in for their third goal in stoppage time, with Maiga ramming home after Petr Cech saved from Taylor.
European champions Chelsea remain in third spot with 26 points after West Bromwich Albion wasted the chance to move above them when they were beaten 1-0 at home by Stoke City.
Spurs moved above West Brom on goal difference into fourth place following a 3-0 victory at Fulham in which Jermain Defoe scored twice. Arsenal were booed off the pitch at the Emirates as they slipped to 10th after a 2-0 home defeat by Michael Laudrup's Swansea City.
Liverpool were 1-0 winners at home to Southampton and bottom club Queens Park Rangers drew 1-1 at home to Aston Villa as their search for a first league win of the season continues under new manager Harry Redknapp.
Manchester United can open up a three-point lead if they win at Reading in the late game.