West Ham’s 2-1 League Cup derby victory over Chelsea on Wednesday night was far from smooth as fans from both clubs clashed.
Cheikhou Kouyate’s first half strike and Edimilson Fernandes’ second half goal earned the Hammers a third consecutive win to put them in the quarter-finals of the competition while Gary Cahill’s consolation goal in stoppage time went almost unnoticed as fan trouble developed.
Special security measures had been put in place for the game, including an alcohol ban and a reduction in tickets on sale, but that didn’t stop the clash from occurring, as supporters from both clubs launched insults and projectiles – including coins and a couple of ripped-up seats.
The trouble had flared when Chelsea fans made for the exit at the back of the lower tier of the Sir Trevor Brooking stand and some of their counterparts from West Ham moved towards them. The stewards fought to keep them apart but, with a bottleneck having formed, the situation very quickly came to look very ugly.
Seven men were arrested by police during the game and are being questioned at a number of London police stations.
While West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, condemned the ugly scene, describing the situation as ‘unacceptable’, within an hour of the final whistle the Hammers issued a statement promising life bans for any culprits identified by CCTV.
Bilic said: “We are totally against it as a club and a team. For those kind of things to happen is unacceptable.
“West Ham United and London Stadium partners unreservedly condemn the behaviour of individuals involved in incidents during this evening’s fixture with Chelsea,” the statement read.
“Whilst quickly brought under control, the Club, in line with its clear zero tolerance policy, will work closely with London Stadium 185, the Metropolitan Police Service and Chelsea to identify the individuals involved. Once identified, those found to have acted improperly will be banned from attending any West Ham fixtures for life and we will request the courts serve banning orders to prevent these individuals attending any other football.”
The fixture calendar may have been kind, with Arsenal the first big London club to visit the Hammers in the Premier League on December 3, but the EFL Cup sent a curveball with a tie against bitter rivals Chelsea.
The FA is also set to launch an investigation into the incident.
The match, therefore, would be an acid test for West Ham and the stakeholders of a stadium which was the centrepiece of the London Olympics.
Meanwhile in the other EFL fixtures on Wednesday night, Manchester United defeated neighbours Manchester City 1-0, as a Juan Mata goal propelled them into the last eight where they will face West Ham.
Elsewhere, Boufal’s stunning strike sealed Southampton’s place in the quarterfinals at the expense of Sunderland. The Saints were drawn against Arsenal in the last eight.