Tammy Abraham scored twice on Monday as Chelsea ended their recent mini-slump by beating West Ham United at Stamford Bridge to move up to fifth in the Premier League.
Back-to-back defeats had seen the Blues slip down the table but they made the ideal start on Monday as Thiago Silva powered home a header in the 10th minute.
Timo Werner spurned a couple of good chances to add to the hosts’ lead but he played his part in his side’s second 12 minutes from time as his scuffed shot was turned in by Abraham.
The Chelsea striker, back in the side in place of Olivier Giroud, then netted another barely two minutes later when he was in the right place to pick up the loose ball and curl home after Christian Pulisic had missed a simple header from a cross.
The scoreline somewhat flattered Chelsea with West Ham having been the better side for large periods, but the visitors paid the price for a lack of a cutting edge as they finished the game without a shot on target.
Victory means Chelsea have 25 points – one behind fourth-placed Everton – while West Ham remain 10th on 21 points.
“We’d dropped off slightly and it was important in this game we came back,” said Chelsea boss Frank Lampard. “There were loads of things for the team to show their character – we want more.”
An ankle injury to left-back Ben Chilwell, which saw him come off early in the game, was a minor blemish on the evening for Lampard, who also has right-back Reece James out with a knee problem.
“We hope both their injuries are not that bad and they will be in and around it for those Christmas fixtures,” he said.
Chelsea started this month being talked about as potential title contenders. They had topped the table after a win over Leeds, but losses to Everton and Wolves had left them in eighth and desperate to rediscover their early season form.
Silva’s early goal helped settle the nerves a little but their play soon became scrappy and West Ham took control instead.
However, Chelsea found the Hammers enduring a rare off day in front of goal – this was only the second time this season that David Moyes’ side had failed to score in the Premier League – and when Abraham slid in their second late on the Blues were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
It was a much-needed win for Lampard’s team, with the only real frustration the continued disappointing form of Werner in front of goal.
This was the eighth game in a row that the Germany international has failed to find the back of the net, with misses at the end of both halves very much those of a striker low on confidence, first hitting a tame effort from a good position at Lukasz Fabianski, then heading on to the crossbar when it looked easier to score.
“That’s the period Timo is in,” added Lampard.
“It’s unfortunate but he’s getting in the positions – when one goes in it will be a run for him. Tammy and Oli [Giroud] both bring different things. Tammy did his thing today and that’s what we needed.”