Chelsea Winless Under Benitez After 3-1 Loss at West Ham
West Ham rallied to beat Chelsea 3-1 in English soccer’s Premier League and extend Rafael Benitez’s winless start as Blues manager.
Carlton Cole, Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga scored in the second half at Upton Park as West Ham ended a 13-match winless run against Chelsea. Juan Mata scored for the Blues, who have two draws and a loss since Benitez was named manager on Nov. 21.
“To win, it’s simple,” Benitez told Sky Sports when asked what his team needs. “We know that football has two halves. In the first half we had two or three chances. We just need to score more goals.”
Manchester United beat Reading 4-3 to open a three-point lead at the top of the standings over Manchester City, which drew 1-1 with Everton. Last-place QPR, which appointed Harry Redknapp as manager on Nov. 24 after firing Mark Hughes, remains the league’s only winless team after a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Swansea beat Arsenal 2-0, Tottenham routed Fulham 3-0, Liverpool beat Southampton 1-0 and Stoke won 1-0 at West Brom in today’s other matches.
Chelsea’s second-half collapse will increase pressure on Benitez. The Spaniard was jeered in his first two homes games as fans showed support for Roberto Di Matteo, who was fired Nov. 21 even though he won the Champions League and F.A. Cup last season.
Mata opened the scoring as he tapped in a pass from Fernando Torres in the 13th minute. It was the Blues’ first score under Benitez after two goalless draws.
Cole tied the game in the 63rd minute when he headed in Matt Jarvis’s deflected cross. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech then made a save against Jarvis and Ashley Cole cleared Winston Reid’s header off the line.
The Hammers took the lead with four minutes left as Diame, who came on to start the second half, took a pass from Cole and drilled a shot by Cech. Maiga, who replaced Cole in the 87th minute, then clinched the victory with a goal in stoppage time.
The win moves the Hammers up to eighth place with 22 points, four fewer than Chelsea, which is tied with Tottenham and West Brom for third place.
“After this game, we are going to get confidence and keep going,” Diame told Sky Sports. “It’s a great result for us.”
Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United beat Reading in a game in which all the goals came in the opening 34 minutes. Carlos Tevez’s penalty kick just before halftime gave defending champion Manchester City the tie with Everton. City hosts United in the next league match for both on Dec. 9.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.