London: Substitute Andriy Yarmolenko marked a rare appearance with a dramatic late goal as West Ham United earned a priceless 3-2 Premier League win over Chelsea at the London Stadium here on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian, who made his first appearance for six months as a late substitute in West Ham’s 0-2 defeat by Wolves, was introduced in the 78th minute, with the derby on a knife edge at 2-2. With Chelsea pushing for a late winner, the home side counter-attacked.
Pablo Fornals played in Yarmolenko, who cut inside Antonio Rudiger before sliding a shot past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Only the chronically bad form of its relegation rivals was keeping West Ham out of the drop zone after three successive defeats without scoring. But, victory lifted it above Watford into 16th spot with 30 points, three above the drop zone.
Chelsea (54 points) will be kicking itself. A win would have taken it third above Leicester City but now, with Manchester United and Wolves in hot form, its hopes of a Champions League spot are under threat. The game under lights was a classic derby.
Tomas Soucek appeared to have prodded West Ham into the lead in the 34th minute, only for VAR to rule that a grounded Michail Antonio was fractionally offside. Minutes later, the host must have thought its luck was definitely out when Christian Pulisic went down under a challenge from Issa Diop and Willian slotted home the penalty.
Soucek headed West Ham level on the stroke of halftime from a corner and then the hard-working Antonio converted in the 51st minute from close range after Jarrod Bowen played in a low cross. Willian curled a free-kick in off the post to punish a poorlypositioned Lukasz Fabianski in the 72nd minute.
And in a frenetic ending, it was the unlikely figure of Yarmolenko who was to have the final say as West Ham sealed a league double over Chelsea for the first time since 2002-03.
Earlier in the day, Arsenal cruised to a 4-0 success over bottom-placed Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium while Everton edged Leicester 2-1. Elsewhere, Newcastle United posted a 4-1 victory against relegation-threatened Bournemouth.