It was around this time last year that former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard began a sequence of poor results which would ultimately cost him his job in January, and while that same fate is unlikely to befall their Champions League winning coach Thomas Tuchel, the German will surely be alarmed by a recent missteps in his once miserly defense – and in particular on a chilly Saturday afternoon in London, those of his Senegalese goalkeeper Mendy.
In what was a thrilling encounter between the two rivals, a late gaffe from Mendy proved crucial as David Moyes’ team continued their impressive start to the season to claim their biggest win yet.
With the scores tied at 2-2 as the clock ticked closer to 90 minutes, Mendy misread the intentions of Arthur Masuaku when – clearly expecting a floated cross into the danger zone – he was wrong-footed by what turned out to be a shot from an unusual angle and was helpless as the ball floated past his despairing clutches.
Earlier in the game, with Chelsea leading 1-0 thanks to a Thiago Silva header, Mendy gave away a penalty following a terrible backpass from Jorginho. It was the second week in succession that a Jorginho error has cost his team a goal after he was blamed for Jadon Sancho’s opener in last Sunday’s home encounter with Manchester United. Manuel Lanzini tucked away the spot-kick to level the scores.
West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen and Chelsea’s Mason Mount also hit the back of the net with impressive strikes, but it was Mendy’s late error which prompted much of the social media chatter.
“Mendy asleep all game, defenders not to be seen, mistake after mistake,” wrote one disgruntled Chelsea fan account. “Again this is why we are not challenging for the title this season.”
Others, though, were perhaps a bit more diplomatic: “Mendy has bailed us out against Brentford and Watford. Been the best GK’s in the world this year. He’s human and an off day is always due. Same happens to Alisson and Ederson. He’ll bounce back and so will the rest of the defence. No sweeping statements needed.“
“All 3 goals came from nothing, Edouard Mendy’s worst game at Chelsea,” disagreed another fan. “Defence was shambolic.”
For West Ham, the result is the latest in what is fast becoming an increasingly impressive showing this season. The Hammers remain rooted to fourth position in the league, something which will guarantee Champions League football next season if they can maintain it.
Moyes has now defeated Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man United, Tottenham and Leicester so far this campaign, successfully rehabilitating his reputation after disastrous spells at Manchester United and Real Sociedad – and this certainly isn’t being lost on football fans.
“West Ham are too good,” wrote one fan. “What David Moyes is doing just incredible. Well deserved win against the most consistent side of the league.“
“If David Moyes hadn’t managed Man Utd before, he’d definitely be linked with them now,” said another.
“What a season West Ham are having though. Playing with real determination and don’t give in till the last minute. Moyes deserves all the praise he’s getting. Happy for him,” added a third.
The backslapping towards Moyes and West Ham will not come as any consolation to Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel, however, with the Blues taking just four points from their past three games.
They will drop out of first position in the Premier League if either or both of Manchester City or Liverpool win their next fixture – and while we’re nowhere near the calamitous form which afflicted Lampard a year ago, there might be one or two bad memories being recalled in the Chelsea boardroom this afternoon.