The first half way pretty even I thought with Chelsea slightly shading the possession that is till just before half-ime, Chelsea had the better chances at goal with Zola, Forssell. & Hasselbaink all going close on severtal occasions. Hasselbaink kept the defence well entertained and on 22 minutes turned Raggy Soma inside out with what can only be described as a world class finish.
Now I have read a lot of articles absolutely barrating Soma, lets give this guy a chance he hasn't played since Blackburn away back in October and he has been turned over by probably the Premiership's most prolific striker (with the exception of Henry). This guy seems to be quite unlucky as he always has tough matches to come back into, lets see him a few more games before we start destroying his confidence. Kannoute had a couple of half chances and Joe Cole also went close for us, we just could break Chelseas solid defence.
But we somehow managed to weather the storm with James, Repka & Dailly all having blinders at the back, just before halftime West Ham all of a sudden looked like they wanted the game more than Chelsea, you could tell the Chelsea fans were getting more and more edgey and this obviously lifted our players.
Second half and West Ham seemed to be out on the pitch ages before Chelsea surfaced. Perhaps they were all left confused about what Ranieri said or something. The second half got underway and West Ham appeared to have the upper edge on possession but we could still not break the defence down.
I think it was about 60 minutes or so and Soma who I thought looks quite promising came off and on came little Jermaine Defoe to a thunderous ovation from the West Ham faithful, who I haven't mentioned yet but were absolutely fantastic and never gave up singing their hearts out. Well done boys & girls, lets hope we can get that sort of atmosphere at the replay.
Back to the game and all of a sudden we started to look a threat in front of goal with Defoe looked very lively and Kannoute also helping out, to be fair Di Canio was marked out of the game once again and probably found it hard to cope with 3 internationals like Desailly, Ferrier, Melchiot all marking him.
Once again Glenn decided that it was then time to introduce the dogged and hopefully injury free Lomas for Hutchison, which also seemed to make a differnce. It was good to see him back after another long lengthy lay off and straight from the off Lomas got involved and started to show everyone just exactly what was missing from our midfield. By this time we were really pressing Chelsea but still no way through.
GR then gave Vladamir Labant his debut in the West Ham shirt and I have to say this looks like quite a handy little player, he replaced Winterburn who had run his bollocks off all game as usual and genuinally looked knackered. Not long after the subsitution had been made we got a free kick just ouitside the Chelsea box and Labant stepped up to take it forcing a good save from Cudacini.
Five minutes later Lampard (i think) brought Joe Cole down and once again Labant put a perfect cross in which was cleared by one of the Chelsea player but only cleared as far as Carrick who struck the ball into the box which took a deflection and ended up at Kannoutes foot then nestling itself sweetly in the back of the Chelsea net, 1-1 and the Hammers fans were over the moon, good celebration from all the West Ham players doing the old rocking cradle for Kannoutes new born child, nice touch lads.
Chelsea made a late rally but to no avail, we'll see ya in a week Frankie baby, and I am sure you will give him a good old East End Cockney reception.
So its Chelsea for the fourth time this season a week Wednesday with Preston eagerly awaiting the winners. Well hopefully this was as everyone saw it, maybe its the Dutch TV trying to make the Hammers look good. Then again it was probably my Claret & Blue glasses doing it.