Chelsea appears increasingly unlikely to qualify for the Champions League after being held 1-1 by struggling West Ham on Sunday.
With six games remaining, Chelsea have fallen 10 points behind fourth-place Tottenham, which is on course to secure a place in European soccer’s elite competition for a third successive season.
“This season we have struggled and this game describes our season,” Chelsea coach Antonio Conte said. “How many times have I said we didn’t take the chances? A lot of times, and then with one chance we conceded a goal.”
West Ham’s priority is avoiding relegation, and Javier Hernandez came off the bench to cancel out Cesar Azpilicueta’s first-half opener and secure a point that took David Moyes’ east London club six points clear of the relegation zone.
“This type of game are very difficult, you need to be very clever, very focused to stop a very good side like Chelsea,” Hernandez told Sky Sports. “Thankfully we got one point which gives us a lot of confidence to keep going and we have our next final against Stoke next week. The most important thing is we get one point and keep adding more points to fight away from the relegation zone. I’m making it difficult for (Moyes) when he decides who starts.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte cut an irritated figure on the touchline as his faltering champions saw another two points slip away. Chelsea also missed out on the Champions League in its last title defense, finishing 10th in 2016.
Arsenal could also catch Chelsea after closing the gap to fifth to three points by coming from behind to beat Southampton 3-2 in Sunday’s other game.