It was another seriously damaging afternoon for imploding champions Chelsea, who had Nemanja Matic and manager Jose Mourinho sent off as they lost 2-1 away to high-flying West Ham United.
Gary Cahill had equalised for the Blues – who played the whole of the second half a man down – but a towering header from substitute Andy Carroll earned the Hammers another prised scalp.
Carroll cleverly isolated Cesar Azpilicueta – much less capable than John Terry in their air – at the back post and climbed above the Spaniard to thump home his first goal of the campaign.
It will be a sweet moment for the 26-year-old, who has only started 12 games in 18 months due to a series of injury problems. His return gives impressive United another attacking weapon.
Slaven Bilic’s men had already beaten Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League this season, and made Chelsea their latest victims in the process of going second in the table.
Mauro Zarate gave the Hammers a 17th-minute lead in the London derby at Upton Park, firing a sweet half-volley into the bottom corner after Chelsea missed several chances to clear.
The Argentine forward was making his first Premier League start since August, and was only in Bilic’s lineup because Chelsea winger Victor Moses was ineligible to face his parent club.
Things got worse for the visitors on the stroke of the break when Matic was shown a second yellow card by referee John Moss for a foul on Diafra Sakho – much to the anger of Mourinho.
The Portuguese may already have been riled up by the contentious decision to disallow a Cesc Fabregas goal for offside, and was sent to the stands for confronting Moss in the tunnel at half time.
Mourinho’s mood would have improved when Cahill brought Chelsea level on 55 minutes with a smart finish into the bottom corner, and the 10-man Blues gave as good as they got for 20 minutes.
But Carroll – with his first Premier League goal since January 11 minutes from time – inflicted a seventh defeat of the season on Chelsea and saw them plummet to the lowly position of 15th in the table.
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