THE NOTEBOOK: 'Boleyn Wall' can't block out banter between supporters
THE NOTEBOOK: West Ham’s ‘Boleyn Wall’ can’t block out banter between supporters, the first black player to be called up by England is honoured on No Room for Racism weekend… and is Graham Potter’s tinkering helpful?
- West Ham and Chelsea played out an exciting 1-1 draw at the London Stadium
- New partition erected between supporters not stopping all banter at West Ham
- Graham Potter has made 67 changes to starting line-up in his 16 league games
Joao Felix’s first goal for Chelsea was cancelled out by former Blues man Emerson Palmieri’s strike to leave neither side in much a better position than they started.
Graham Potter’s side started brightly and could have doubled their lead but for some wayward runs by their forward players before they faded and allowed West Ham back in.
Both sides will feel they could have won the game late on – West Ham through Tomas Soucek, who saw his header ruled out after Declan Rice had strayed offside and Chelsea after Conor Gallagher’s shot struck the arm of the Czech midfielder.
Sportsmail’s Kieran Gill takes a look at some of the things you may have missed from the London Stadium.
Emerson Palmieri’s strike cancelled out Joao Felix’s volleyed effort in the first half
The Boleyn Wall
Supporters are calling it the ‘Boleyn Wall’ – the claret screen that has been installed to separate the home and away sections at the London Stadium. Security officials want to stop missiles from being thrown, which has been a problem in the past. This may work, but it also limits the banter between the two sets of supporters. Thankfully it didn’t extinguish the jesting completely, like when Chelsea’s fans spotted and serenaded a West Ham supporter wearing an eye-catching jumper: ‘Who’s the w***** in the pink?’
West Ham’s former boot room manager posthumously honoured
Jack Leslie was the first black player to be called up for England in 1925 before his name disappeared from the team sheet due to the colour of his skin. Here, the former footballer who became West Ham’s boot room manager was posthumously inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame. His granddaughters Lyn, Gill and Les were invited as VIP guests and there was a lovely ‘there’s grandad!’ moment in the press room at 12pm when footage of Leslie in his heyday suddenly appeared on the television screens. This was also a No Room for Racism fixture, hence why both West Ham and Chelsea’s players took the knee before kick off.
Jack Leslie’s family were at West Ham as he was posthumously honoured ahead of the game
Joao Felix excellent again – now it’s time for a run of games
Up until his red card at Fulham, Joao Felix was enjoying an excellent debut in a Chelsea shirt. That continued here. He was a constant threat when bursting in behind West Ham’s back line and took the crunching challenges like a champ. Felix, 23, looks like he will be a fine addition to the Premier League. Todd Boehly is certainly excited. Chelsea’s suited-up owner was applauding the on-loan Atletico Madrid attacker’s endeavour from the posh seats throughout.
Joao Felix was brilliant again – as he had been at Fulham before his sending off in the defeat
Chelsea bring army to the London Stadium
Just the eight substitutes for West Ham, including two academy goalkeepers in Krisztian Hegyi, 20, and Joseph Anang, 22. Quite the contrast to the army from Chelsea, whose nine subs included potential game-changers in Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and Conor Gallagher. It’s a good job the London Stadium’s away changing room is one of the Premier League’s more spacious spaces. Chelsea have already equalled the Prem record of 32 players used by a club in a season so they need the room.
Former Chelsea man Emerson Palmieri makes impact
In the 18th minute, a flock of pigeons landed in the Chelsea box. Our seven featured friends felt safe there. That area certainly hadn’t been getting used by West Ham’s attackers in the opening exchanges. Nevertheless, David Moyes’ men got back into the game and the equaliser from Emerson came out of nowhere. He didn’t make the cleanest contact – the crowd’s reaction to the replays on the London Stadium’s big screens reiterated the good fortune – but Emerson has made a real impact since becoming a starter at left wing back.
Emerson Palmieri was effective on the left at shackling Chelsea’s array of attacking talent
The new tinkerman?
In 16 Premier League games in charge, Graham Potter has made 67 changes to his starting line-up and used six different formations. Few managers tinker as much as Potter. The proof can only come with results and right now, it’s five wins, six draws and five defeats. Not good enough for a club as ambitious as Chelsea.
Marc Cucurella has to start looking forwards
Potter defended Marc Cucurella from criticism this week. But Chelsea’s left back doesn’t always help himself. Like in the second half when he had the ball and every outfielder in front of him. Instead of looking forwards, he went backwards, opting to pass to goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Chelsea fans’ cheered when Cucurella was replaced by Ben Chilwell in the 68th minute. He’s got some serious winning over to do.
Marc Cucurella must start being more proactive and effective on the ball for Chelsea
VAR must be quicker – Declan Rice was blatantly offside
VAR Neil Swarbrick took far too long to tell us Declan Rice was offside in the build-up to Tomas Soucek’s would-be winner. We could see that from the replays on our tiny television screens in the press box. Yet the supporters inside the stadium had to wait, and wait, and wait. Needlessly so.
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