Chelsea steal march in Champions League race thanks to Timo Werner as West Ham blighted by ‘ridiculous’ red card shown to Fabian Balbuena

Chelsea moved one step closer to the Champions League with a 1-0 victory against European rivals West Ham United in an action-packed game at the London Stadium.

Timo Werner may have endured a difficult first season at Stamford Bridge, but his goal just before half time in east London sealed all three points which puts the Blues fourth in the table.

Timo Werner struck just before half time to seal three points for Chelsea

With Liverpool dropping points against Newcastle earlier in the day, both sides had an opportunity to stake their claim for a seat at the top seat of European football.

Werner has been directly involved in 20 goals for the Blues this season, more than any other player for the club this season.

While it was a great day for the visitors, West Ham endured a rare frustrating evening at home which was made worse by a controversial decision from VAR.

Fabian Balbuena saw red after his studs caught Ben Chilwell, but it could be argued the Paraguay international could not have placed his studs anywhere else after clearing the ball.

The usually effective Jesse Lingard was stifled by the Chelsea defence

With Real Madrid to come in the Champions League and a massive game against Leicester still to play, this result could well be one which Thomas Tuchel and his Chelsea side look back on with significance.

The dream is still alive for West Ham, but their depleted squad may well have to be perfect before now and the end of the season to pull off a miracle.

Chelsea started the game brightly after a dour draw against Brighton, keeping the ball for fun without really troubling Lukasz Fabianski.

The Hammers thought as they had a shout for a penalty when Tomas Soucek prodded an effort at goal after a whipped delivery from Lingard from deep found the Czech Republic international.

Werner missed a glorious chance to extend the lead

Cesar Azpilicueta was doing his defensive duty, but must have had his heart in his mouth as the ball ricocheted onto his thigh off of his chest.

Werner wriggled away from the attention of Angelo Ogbonna and found Christian Pulisic, who fed the rampaging Ben Chilwell on the left hand side.

The England international managed to thread the ball through the eye of a needle and the ball landed perfectly at Werner’s feet from just seven yards.

West Ham started the second half brightly, but should have been two down when Mason Mount forced Fabianski into a smart save, but could only push the ball into the path of Werner.

Thomas Tuchel has made the Blues incredibly difficult to beat

The former RB Leipzig forward should have put the game to bed already from just four yards out, but dragged his left footed shot wide.

Lingard almost punished him with the very next attack of the game as the hosts grew in confidence. Mark Noble made a rare break forward and his cross found Ryan Fredericks. His effort was blocked, but it fell to Lingard and his speculative volley just flew past the post.

Sensing the game slipping away from his side, Moyes sent on Manuel Lanzini and Said Benrahma as the Scot gambled to try and rectify the scoreline.

The game effectively changed when Fabian Balbuena was shown a straight red card after he cleared the ball, but left his studs on Chilwell’s ankle.

Fabian Balbuena was shown a red card after clearing the ball and catching Ben Chilwell

Gary Lineker Tweeted: “Oh FFS, that is not a red card. He’s just clearing the ball. Ridiculous.”

Down to ten men for the second time in as many weeks, the Hammers tried all they could to pull their west London rivals back, but failed.