Chelsea’s top four ambitions took another hit on Saturday afternoon as they were held to a 1-1 draw by West Ham United.

Two of the Blues’ January signings, Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix combined to open the scoring with the latter finishing off a fine move in the 16th minute.

It was former Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri who restored parity 12 minutes later sneaking in at the far post.

As both sides went in search of the winning goal in the second half, the Hammers had one ruled out due to VAR intervening for offside.

The Blues also had a penalty call waved off by the referee when substitute Connor Gallagher’s drive from distance appeared to have brushed off Thomas Soucek’s hand.

Chelsea dominate start

It was Chelsea who started the brighter of the two sides as West Ham failed to cope with the attacking trio of Mykhailo Mudryk, Felix and Kai Havertz.

The hosts also lost influential midfielder Lucas Paqueta inside the first quarter due to a shoulder injury.

Chelsea had two goals ruled out within a span of nine minutes, one each, on either side of the opener.

First Joao Felix was deemed offside before Havertz also had his effort chalked off by VAR.

Despite their utter dominance, West Ham levelled the score just shy of the first half-hour completely against the run of play when Palmeiri fired past Chelsea custodian Kepa Arizzabalaga with a low shot from a tight angle.  

The Blues were also on top for the majority of the second half but were unable to make their domination count.

Graham Potter rang in the changes from the bench with 20 minutes left but it appeared that the Hammers had stolen all three points with 8 minutes remaining.

Thomas Soucek bundled in Palmieri’s inviting cross but VAR intervened to disallow the goal as Declan Rice seemed to have moved into an offside position leading into the build-up.

Chelsea denied penalty

Chelsea though would consider themselves unlucky as six minutes later they were denied a penalty of their own.

On the penalty claim Potter later said, “It looks it but these are the little things you need to go in your favor and at the moment they’re not … that’s life, nothing to complain about there.”

The results sees Chelsea remain in ninth place with 31 points from 22 games and 9 points adrift of Newcastle United in fourth.

The Blues have now won just 2 of their last 13 league games. The Hammers, meanwhile sit 16th, two points clear of the relegation zone.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Paul Marriott