A flurry of three goals in the space of fifteen second-half minutes gave Bournemouth one of their greatest away victories ever, as the defending Premier League champions struggle to keep up with a flourishing Cherries attack.
This was a fixture between two sides who’ve met two times prior to this West-London meeting, with Chelsea coming out tops in both the other games; but with Chelsea playing every three days and Bournemouth having had eleven days off to prepare, this surely would be a contest of minimal proportions.
Both sides looked to attack early and it was the away team who had the first chance of the game as Callum Wilson and Junior Stanislas combined well down Bournemouth’s right side, but Wilson’s cheeky back-heel flick hit Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and calmly rolled into Thibaut Courtois’ grateful gloves.
Both sides were demonstrating great defensive solidity, a welcome change for a Bournemouth side that has throughout the season conceded a fair few goals. The game undoubtedly had a one-goal game feel to it as the first-half progressed.
Chelsea’s ninth match of a busy January schedule looked to take its toll as Andreas Christensen was forced-off midway through the first-half with a hamstring injury with a summer recruit, Antonio Rudiger, replacing the young Danish center-back.
As the game grew on, Chelsea were doing the vast majority of the attacking and subsequently created a great chance as Eden Hazard narrowly miss-headed a beautifully waited Marcos Alonso cross. The sparring continued throughout the first-half as new Chelsea signings Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud watched on from the Stamford Bridge stands.
Although Chelsea had the better of the first-half possession, limited clear chances were created in a first-half dominated by miscommunication, wayward final balls and an inch or two of length lacking on Chelsea’s false nine, Eden Hazard.
Bournemouth clearly started the second-half the better team, and a defensive mistake led to the opening goal for the Cherries as a misplaced pass was pounced upon by Jordan Ibe who in return fed Callum Wilson and he calmly slotted it past the returnee in goal for Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois.
In response to Bournemouth’s shock opening goal, Antonio Conte replaced Ross Barkley with creative mastermind Cesc Fabregas; bringing an end to the English-born midfielder’s first Premier League start for Chelsea.
Chelsea searched desperately for an equaliser, but as a result left a gaping hole at the back and a swift counter-attack resulted in another fine finish this time from Junior Stanislas. Bournemouth’s good football continued as they in return continued to pile on the pressure and from a corner scored their third goal through former Blue, Nathan Ake. Two goals in the space of a few minutes has left Chelsea toothless.
As Chelsea pushed on to try and get back into the game, Pedro’s shot hit Nathan Ake’s hand inside the penalty area; but the decision went Bournemouth’s way as referee, Lee Probert, waved away Chelsea’s legitimate appeals.
Chelsea continued to push for something as a dismal night for them drew to an end, a night to forget for Chelsea was a night to remember for Bournemouth as they ended Chelsea’s impressive recent record at Stamford Bridge and sent Chelsea to fourth place; tails firmly tucked between their legs.