VAR's killing Graham Potter! Chelsea winners, losers & ratings as Joao Felix & Enzo Fernandez shine amid controversial penalty call

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Graham Potter Chelsea West Ham Enzo Fernandez Joao Felix Premier League 2022-23
Chelsea's new era continues to stutter as the Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at West Ham on Saturday, piling the pressure on Graham Potter.

An electric performance from the returning Joao Felix wasn't enough to power Chelsea to a much-needed victory at the London Stadium, as the referee and VAR denied the Blues a late penalty that would've likely delivered the win.

The visitors controlled the opening exchanges and took the lead after 15 minutes when three of their new signings combined. Mykhailo Mudryk recovered possession deep in West Ham territory before Enzo Fernandez clipped in a cross and Felix found space in the box to produce an expert side-foot volley.

The Portugal international had been frustrated by the flag minutes earlier, and Kai Havertz suffered the same fate after rounding Lukasz Fabianski.

Chelsea seemed to be in the ascendancy, but after Marc Cucurella ceded possession deep in his own half, a deep cross found former Chelsea man Emerson Palmieri at the back post, and he scuffed the ball into the net to draw West Ham level shortly before the half-hour mark.

The visitors came again, and Fabianski had to be at full stretch to keep out good efforts from both Noni Madueke and Felix before half-time.

However, Chelsea's authority waned in the second period as the hosts grew into the game. The closest they came to restoring their lead was when Michail Antonio flicked a corner inches wide of his own post.

VAR ensured there was some late drama at the end of a turgid second period. After Tomas Soucek's tap-in was ruled out for an offside in the build-up, Chelsea were denied a penalty despite Conor Gallagher's effort appearing to strike the arm of the falling Soucek on its way towards goal.

Another frustrating match for this new-look Chelsea. Here are GOAL's winners, losers and player ratings from the London Stadium!

  1. The Winners
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    The Winners

    Joao Felix:

    Finally back from that three-match suspension after his debut red card, and Felix was clearly in the mood to make up for lost time here. He was a menacing presence between the lines, evading the attentions of West Ham's midfield and defence. Having been denied by the flag already, he popped up to expertly volley home Enzo's pinpoint cross.

    Enzo Fernandez:

    Had the most touches AND completed the most passes in the first period, including his first assist in the blue of Chelsea. Although his influence waned somewhat after the break, that kind of contribution is exactly why the club was willing to shell out on him and let Jorginho leave to Arsenal.

    Emerson Palmieri:

    A player who never really got a fair shot during his time at Chelsea. He would have been keen to make an impression against his former club with a stout defensive showing, but instead popped up with an unlikely equaliser in the first half. A scuffed finish but they all count. He'll have enjoyed that, despite the muted celebration!

  2. The Losers
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    The Losers

    Marc Cucurella:

    For the second time in as many matches, an out-of-form Cucurella was repeatedly targeted by opposition attacks down his flank. After giving the ball away he failed to close down the cross that led directly to the Hammers' equaliser. Graham Potter had defended the Spaniard in his pre-match press conference, but the decision not to start Ben Chilwell here was questionable. Audible groans for a number of his touches and a big cheer from the away end when he was subbed. Not good.

    Reece James:

    The flying full-back still seems to be working his way back to full fitness and form. He went to sleep as a deep cross found his former team-mate Emerson to equalise at the back post, and he didn't produce his usual attacking thrust - perhaps shackled by a more traditional right-back role, rather than charging forward at wing-back.

    Kalidou Koulibaly:

    Left on the bench against Fulham last time out and omitted from the squad altogether here. This is a clear message that the summer signing has work to do to get back into Potter's plans after Badiashile's fine start to life in west London.

  3. Chelsea Ratings: Defence
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    Chelsea Ratings: Defence

    Kepa Arrizabalaga (6/10):

    Not unduly tested but left exposed as Emerson squeezed it past him for West Ham's equaliser.

    Reece James (5/10):

    All at sea as West Ham levelled and quiet again going forward. Did make an excellent block in the late stages but still searching for his best.

    Thiago Silva (6/10):

    First game since penning a new contract, and made a trademark sliding denial in the first half. A typically calm presence.

    Benoit Badiashile (6/10):

    Another impressive showing. Unfortunate to be booked for an excellent recovery challenge on Michail Antonio, who he generally dealt with.

    Marc Cucurella (4/10):

    Had a nightmare for West Ham's leveller, giving the ball away before failing to close down the cross. His substitution was greeted with cheers from the away end.

  4. Midfield
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    Noni Madueke (6/10):

    Lively whenever he had the ball and drew a good save from Fabianski. Perhaps a surprise to see him subbed.

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek (6/10):

    Back from injury and straight into the line-up. Typically marauding but lacked a final pass.

    Enzo Fernandez (7/10):

    A first assist! An exquisite clipped cross made it impossible for Felix to miss. Metronomic as he got through plenty of passes.

    Mykhailo Mudryk (5/10):

    Started brightly but clearly still settling in to life at the club after such a long period without game time. Eventually hooked.

  5. Attack
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    Joao Felix (8/10):

    Saw an early goal chalked off for a marginal offside, but wasn't to be denied and made no mistake with a composed volley minutes later. Floated menacingly between the lines and was a threat throughout. Will only be disappointed not to have delivered the three points.

    Kai Havertz (6/10):

    Denied by the flag like his partner after rounding the keeper. Ran hard but had very few clear-cut openings. Another frustrating game for the German.

  6. Subs & Manager
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    Subs & Manager

    Ben Chilwell (6/10):

    Had one opening but was a little ponderous.

    Hakim Ziyech (5/10):

    His late foul was almost costly but saved by VAR.

    Mason Mount (6/10):

    Injected some energy in a quiet period for his side.

    Conor Gallagher (6/10):

    A late introduction, and his shot at goal late on should have earned a penalty.

    Graham Potter (6/10):

    A very exciting team on paper, but yet again his players failed to deliver the goods on the pitch. It feels like he's getting closer to the right team selection, but he'll need more time. It remains to be seen whether he'll get it.