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Eden Hazard's goal enough as Chelsea edge West Ham 1-0 at Upton Park

The ESPN FC panel discuss why Chelsea have been able to maintain their lead atop the Premier League as they held on for a 1-nil victory over West Ham.

LONDON -- Eden Hazard's first-half goal was enough thanks to some superb Thibaut Courtois saves as Chelsea defeated West Ham 1-0. Here are three quick observations from Wednesday night's game at Upton Park.

1. Hazard provides the crucial goal

It was a night when Eden Hazard scored a rare headed goal and Chelsea once again showed their own mental fortitude to beat West Ham United 1-0. Despite how rocky this match was, the Premier League leaders just keep on rolling forward.

Jose Mourinho...

 By Mark Worrall

Courtois helps keep West Ham at bay; Hazard nods home Chelsea winner

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Eden Hazard (22') West Ham 0-1 Chelsea
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Ramires Santos do Nascimento (56') West Ham 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea maintained their five-point advantage at the summit of the Premier League with a backs-to-the-wall, battling 1-0 victory over West Ham United. An Eden Hazard goal midway through the first half and world-class keeping from Thibaut Courtois were the decisive factors as the Blues displayed admirable defensive resilience to keep the Hammers at bay.

Jose Mourinho tweaked his Wembley starting XI, electing to play Courtois in goal instead of Petr Cech and affording Oscar a start in place of Willian....

Petr Cech and Chelsea stay loyal to each other as circumstances change

The ESPN FC panel discuss Chelsea's slim victory over Everton and why Jose Mourinho dropped Thibaut Courtois in favour of Petr Cech.
Cech would be a fine addition at Real Madrid but a move doesn't make sense... does it?
Petr Cech has started 13 games this season for Chelsea, including just five in the Premier League.

On Wednesday, the British media was full of reports that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho won't stand in Petr Cech's way should the Czech goalkeeper decide to move elsewhere at the end of the season.

"I don't think Petr is a guy to be persuaded [to stay]," Mourinho said. "I will just wait, wishing his decision is to stay. But I don't waste my time trying to persuade him. If he tells me he wants to leave I will tell him my opinion, that he is one of the three best goalkeepers in the world, so huge money."


 By Phil Lythell

Chelsea full of confidence as they cross London for West Ham tilt

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Mark Donaldson preview West Ham's midweek fixture against Chelsea at Upton Park.

It could all have been so different. Chelsea could have been entering their match with West Ham United on Wednesday night with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Had a butterfly on the other side of the world flapped its wings to an alternative beat on Sunday then maybe Tottenham would have prevailed in the Capital One Cup final and Manchester City might have turned their defeat to Liverpool into a victory. Chelsea could have found themselves sitting second in the Premier League by the time...

Chelsea warm up for winning bigger prizes with cruise to Capital One Cup

The ESPN FC panel highlight Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho's defensive tactics as being the key elements to his side's victory over Tottenham in the Capital One Cup final.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was delighted to beat Tottenham 2-0 in the League Cup final.

Does it have to be this easy? Did someone not related to the FA disciplinary committee decree that Chelsea's road to English soccer supremacy needed to be one extended two-month lap of honor?

How else to explain why Man City and Tottenham chose the same day to offer Bill Gates-levels of charity toward Chelsea? These were acts of altruism on such a grand scale that you half-expected City and Spurs to offer to pay for Jose Mourinho's cleaning bill after the Delirious One celebrated his team's good...

 By Mark Worrall

Jose Mourinho proves once more why he's 'special' with Wembley victory

The ESPN FC panel highlight Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho's defensive tactics as being the key elements to his side's victory over Tottenham in the Capital One Cup final.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was delighted to beat Tottenham 2-0 in the League Cup final.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley recaps Chelsea's dominant performance against Tottenham on their way to claiming the Capital One Cup trophy.

Basking in the warm reflective glow of a Wembley victory is always a pleasant feeling for Chelsea supporters, especially given the fact that vanquished London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, represented the Blues' opposition in the Capital One Cup Final.

The build up to Sunday's showdown that Chelsea won 2-0 had been frenetic. The questions had been asked: Could the Stamford Bridge outfit cope with hot-shot Hotspur striker Harry Kane? How would they fare without suspended midfield destroyer Nemanja...