Written by Rodmorg
Following a successful and unbeaten start to the season, as well as progression into the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, Bournemouth visited Chelsea with fresh memories of a 0-3 win of the same fixture back on January 31st.
It would be tough to replicate one of the greatest victories we have ever seen in the Premier League, due to Chelsea having a new manager in Maurizio Sarri. The former Napoli manager received praise from Eddie Howe – citing Sarri as being “one of the world’s best”. Having watched Sarri’s Napoli down at the Vitality Stadium last season, as well as watching a few Serie ‘A’ games when he was Napoli manager, it would be hard to break down such a strong Chelsea side. Sarri had decided to start a former Napoli player Joginho as well as Kovacic, of whom is on loan from Real Madrid, as well as former Player of the Year Kante in midfield. Willian, Morata and star player Hazard all started up front, in a 4-3-3 formation.
For us, a familiar line-up of 3-4-3, of which is utilised against more tough teams was used. Captain Simon Francis started alongside the usual starters Ake and Steve Cook. In midfield, following the success of the tie on Tuesday, Jefferson Lerma replaced club captain Andrew Surman and Diego Rico replaced veteran left-back Charlie Daniels. Both Dan Gosling and Adam Smith retained their places, despite the former receiving a red card last time out against Everton. In-form Ryan Fraser started once again, with Callum Wilson and Josh King beside him.
Loud cheers came from the away side as referee Lee Mason started the match. The cheers were close to being louder as within three minutes, Bournemouth were close to leading with Ryan Fraser sliding the ball across the face of the goal with Wilson very close to poking it in.
After Bournemouth had resisted from intense pressure from Chelsea, we had another golden opportunity to score. Following an excellent counter-attacking move from a Chelsea corner, Diego Rico sprinted along the by-line to put in an inch-perfect and wonderful cross for Wilson, of who miss times the shot and it glided over the bar. He should have broken the deadlock, but the ball bounced up to him in an odd position.
We progressively grew into the game by having more of the ball, however, just before halftime, another ball over the top from Chelsea found Hazard in the box, who squared the ball to Alonso, whose powerful effort hit the post from outside the box.
HT Chelsea 0-0 Bournemouth
After half-time, Bournemouth continued to frustrate Chelsea by forcing them to play on the wings. We could see that the frustrations were on the pitch too. As the ball went out for a throw-in, Adam Smith attempted to take it quickly for a swift counter. Marcos Alonso, already on a yellow card for grappling Smith earlier, intentionally tripped him up, which was blatantly ignored by referee Lee Mason, despite numerous players’ protests as well as the commentators mentioning it should have been a second yellow.
Just before the hour mark, another golden opportunity went astray. A powerful ball in by Diego Rico swiftly landed in front of former Chelsea man, Ake from three yards out, who somehow blazes it over the bar. A glorious chance that would be rued.
Not long after, a move started by Alonso eventually fell to substitute Pedro, who shot from outside the box which landed to Begovic’s right. An unfortunate goal for Bournemouth, considering the shot was initially going to go down the goalkeeper’s throat, nevertheless, a massive deflection off Steve Cook made it impossible to save.
After another chance goes missing from a counter-attack through Fraser, Howe rolled the dice by swapping Smith and King for Mousset and Ibe, both of whom impressed on Tuesday night, especially Mousset. The manager reverted back to his usual 4-4-2 in search of a much-needed goal to maintain an unbeaten start to our fourth season, despite obvious signs of us tiring from the pressure. A potential lifeline could’ve been one as Fraser was chasing the Chelsea goalkeeper, the opposition centre-back Rudiger barged into Wee Man needlessly which was again ignored by the referee. Could’ve easily been a penalty had he been looking.
Eventually, Eden Hazard killed off the game with an unstoppable drill past his former teammate Begovic from 6 yards out, following a lay off from Marcos Alonso. One final attack from Bournemouth led to Fraser nearly scoring a marvellous curl from the left of the Chelsea box and into the top right, which went just wide.
FT Chelsea 2-0 Bournemouth
Asmir Begovic – 7 – Conceded two, but made some great saves to deny his former team more goals, including a powerful effort from Alonso. Made some good distributions but nothing magical. Showed some bravery early on by saving with his face.
Simon Francis – 6 – Good game for Captain Franno. Made some good runs down the right when we were behind, and defended well.
Steve Cook –6– Still being the brave centre-back we all know and had good positioning. Very unlucky for the ball to deflect off him for their first goal.
Nathan Ake – 5 – A good performance by our player of the season, however, he should’ve scored that would have put us into the lead and perhaps change the outline for the rest of the match.
Adam Smith – 6 – An average game for Smith aside the throw-in situation. Unfair for him to see Alonso be so aggressive towards Smith, given what happened last week. His second encounter with Alonso should’ve seen Chelsea see out the game with ten men.
Jefferson Lerma – 5 – Repeated the performance he had against MK Dons and saw a yellow card, of which won’t be the first time, and was lucky not to be sent off. Needs improvement. Didn’t do anything special what we expect him to do, except for making a great sliding tackle in the first half being the only highlight. Hopefully, the Internationals freshen him up a bit.
Dan Gosling – 6 – A better performance compared to last week. Made some good passes and was running around everywhere. Better than Lerma and didn’t produce any mistakes. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the lineup against Leicester.
Diego Rico – 7 – A good debut for the Spanish left-back. Produced an exquisite cross which should’ve been an assist for Wilson’s goal as well as Ake’s. Made some very good runs. Charlie should look behind his shoulder.
Ryan Fraser – 5 – Looked tired right off the bat after playing midweek. Didn’t do much except for the penalty appeal and a few shots – of which none were on target.
Callum Wilson – 6 – Good hold up play which suits him but was unlucky to make such a miss. He should’ve scored, given his level of quality and him being unmarked. Then again, made some good runs.
Josh King MOTM – 7 – Held the ball up well and made some excellent sprints down both sides of the pitch. Made some interesting and enjoyable skill moves in cul-de-sacs. My MOTM but tough to decide between him, Rico and Begovic. Could have easily been any of them.
Lys Mousset – 5 – Good energy but a quiet performance given the game was killed off by that time
Jordon Ibe – 5 – Similar to Mousset, nothing special.
Lewis Cook – N/A – Came on too late – should’ve come on far earlier but looked bright.
It was going to be highly unlikely to replicate our great game last season but the defence was stubborn before the goal and we did well. We attempted to hit them on the counter and we got a few corners out of it. Wilson’s and Ake’s chances should have seen the net bulge, however, we aren’t always going to score, but I expected at least one to go in.
The referee was very weak. Mason should have given a red card to Alonso and had it had been a different player for a different team, there would have been a different outcome. The concept applies to the penalty too. Had he have given those decisions, we may have been home with one, if not, three points. I’m not entirely blaming the outcome of the match on the referee, however, if he had made the correct decisions, it could’ve influenced a turnaround in our mentality as well as Chelsea’s.
As a whole, an average performance by the players. We’ve had better performances against similar opposition (eg Man City and Arsenal at home last season). Rico is an exciting prospect for us and I hope he fulfils that. My opinion of Lerma is a bit 50/50. Currently, he needs more time to fit into the team. I think it was too early to start him in the Premier League and especially against such a strong opposition. I would have preferred him to start against Leicester or Burnley and give Surman or Lewis Cook a start against Chelsea. Anyway, I wasn’t expecting much out of this game but we tried and carried that “Never say die” attitude, even if we conceded two late on. An exciting fixture awaits after the international break with Leicester at home.