Chelsea held by resilient Hammers
Chelsea were frustrated by West Ham in a goalless draw which saw Jose Mourinho's men fall three points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Mourinho on Tuesday played down his side's title chances this term and the Blues saw a seven-game winning run ended by a West Ham side battling relegation and, after leaking goals in recent weeks, defensively resolute.
City, Chelsea's opponents next Monday, scored nine in the two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final with the Hammers, but the Blues faced a defensive wall they could not breach.
Chelsea had won five successive league games and were anticipated to have a comfortable evening against a West Ham side with five points from the previous nine games and deep in the relegation mire.
Yet it was anything but easy as the Blues, who won 3-0 at Upton Park in November, found West Ham to be defensively resilient and organised, while also posing an early threat.
Andy Carroll slipped at the far post with Cesar Azpilicueta in close attendance after seven minutes and referee Neil Swarbrick was unmoved at the Hammers' penalty appeals, much to Sam Allardyce's frustration.
Oscar's curled effort was helped on to the bar by Adrian and Petr Cech scrambled clear a James Tomkins header before the West Ham goalkeeper saved from John Terry and Samuel Eto'o late in the first half.
Mourinho was incensed by a Joey O'Brien tackle from behind on Willian which saw the left-back booked and fortunate not to make more contact and earn a red card. West Ham did finish the game with 10 men when O'Brien departed with a damaged shoulder after an off-the-ball Gary Cahill push before a corner.
As Chelsea's inability to cut open the Hammers grew in the second half, they longed for a player with the guile of Juan Mata, now at Manchester United, but West Ham held on to move on to Saturday's home encounter with Newcastle with renewed optimism.