Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o unsuccessfully appeals for a penalty following a challenge from West Ham defender Guy Demel. Reuters
"Football from the 19th Century" was how Jose Mourinho described West Ham's performance after Sam Allardyce's men built an as-solid-as-it-gets defensive wall to frustrate the home side to a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea struck the woodwork, got shots on target, and piled wave after wave of pressure, but despite all their efforts, West Ham held on, putting on a laudable defensive performance to come away from the fortress that is the Bridge with a valuable point.
"It is very difficult to play a match when only one team wants to play," Mourinho said. "Football matches are about two teams playing but because West Ham needed points they came here the way they did.
"Is it acceptable? Maybe yes. I don't want to criticise too much because if I was in their position I don't know if I would do the same. But at the same time this is not football from the Premier League, the best league in the world, this football from the 19th Century.
"I am happy with my players. Especially in the second half the West Ham goalkeeper saved a lot but also other players without gloves, they saved a lot. They had five defenders who looked more goalkeepers than defenders.
"They threw their bodies at the ball, they slid, they gave a lot, so my respect to their spirit and their effort but my team tried everything. They played, they created, the goalkeeper saved, so I cannot complain about my people. It tried to change players to bring new things to the game but the only thing I could bring more was a Black and Decker, to destroy the wall!"
The criticism might sound a tad hypocritical, considering Mourinho has set his teams up similarly on several occasions in the past. At the end of the day it is a results game, as Mourinho, the master at that, only knows pretty well, and Allardyce will be quite happy to take a point, which keeps them a point clear of bottom club Cardiff City.
"I think that our solidarity and our defensive resilience meant that it wasn't luck, it was sheer brilliance why we got a point," Allardyce said. "Our last-ditch defending was brilliant and you can't tell me Adrian has had to make too many saves apart from that one he made at the end from Frank Lampard.
"Thank goodness Frank didn't score against us again, and it was a brilliant performance overall when you consider we had to play the last ten minutes with ten men after losing Joey O'Brien to a dislocated shoulder.
"What a great performance, defensively and tactically, but the players in nullifying the world-class players that Chelsea have. They made sure Chelsea resorted to moaning and groaning and waving their arms about, trying to intimidate the referee to get something out of the game that they couldn't get in general play."
Chelsea remain third with the point, two points behind Arsenal, who dropped down to second, following Manchester City's big win over Tottenham, with Manuel Pellegrini's men now a point clear at the top and looking ominous for the title.
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