Rio Ferdinand understands Chelsea ‘going bananas’ as pundits agree on key mistake costing Potter dearly

Rio Ferdinand, BT Sport pundit

Rio Ferdinand agreed with his fellow pundits that West Ham were extremely lucky not to concede a late penalty in their 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

The capital clubs shared the spoils at the London Stadium in a result that heaps further pressure on Blues chief Graham Potter. Joao Felix gave the visitors a 16th-minute lead before Emerson Palmieri levelled affairs just 12 minutes later. There were no further goals but Chelsea felt they should have been awarded a spot kick late on in the contest.

Tomas Soucek appeared to handle Conor Gallagher’s shot and push it wide of the goal. Despite vociferous protests from the Blues stars and a VAR check, nothing was awarded.

Chelsea’s players carried on their protests after the final whistle and former Hammers star Ferdinand sympathised with the away side.

“Wow. I was happy that the referee didn’t see it, VAR didn’t see it, but I thought he more or less saved it. It was a great save, he told BT Sport.

“No wonder these players in Chelsea shirts are going bananas, I’d have been going crazy.

“He gets down really well to his left, what a save that is. I can’t believe that’s not been given. It’s unbelievable. It’s lucky.”

The result saw Chelsea remain in ninth spot in the Premier League standings – nine points outside the top four.

West Ham are battling at the other end of the table and the point lifted them two points clear of the relegation zone.

Ferdinand not alone in penalty claim

Ferdinand spent five years with The Irons at the start of his career. And his fellow pundit Joe Cole was also on the East End club’s books for five years before joining Chelsea.

The former England ace pulled no punches in his assessment of the incident.

“The crucial thing for me was the distance Soucek was from Gallagher,” he said. “If he’s right next to him and he hits the ball at his arm then you can argue no penalty, but when you’re that far away you get a split second.

“He knows what he’s doing. It’s a penalty.”

The punditry trio was completed by Blues legend Gianfranco Zola who also gave his thoughts on the match.

And the former Italy international was insistent that Potter’s men should have been awarded a penalty.

“Clearly the hand is not attached to the body and there’s a shot at goal that’s been blocked. In my opinion, clearly a penalty,” he stated.

Fixtures will now come thick and fast for Chelsea as the Champions League returns next week.

Potter takes his men to Germany on Wednesday as the Stamford Bridge giants take on Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Struggling Southampton then travel to the Bridge next Saturday before a huge clash with Tottenham.

Spurs were well beaten by Leicester City on Saturday but their London rivals only managed to claw back one point.

Chelsea make the short trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, February 26.

It is usually a feisty derby and there is nothing to suggest it will not be the same this time around.

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