Once again, Chelsea suffered a heart-crushing defeat in the 2015-16 season, this time around by the hands of relegation-threatened team AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge. The Blues dominated the game in terms of possession and shots but advanced stats reveal that the match was more levelled than the conventional ones might tell. It's also worrying that Bournemouth looked more threatening offensively than Chelsea themselves in the first half, although the second one was an almost complete sweep by the unlucky home team.
It's the luck that, according to Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, has been sorely missed by the team this season:
"We had some chances, we didn't finish them and at the end the game can change. It was difficult creating open chances, although we had them, and if we had scored one then maybe more would come. At home you always want to win. We had the confidence after our last games. We were unlucky in our finishing."
"I think this season we are a bit unlucky some games, but we have the same good team as last year and that team was champions so I think we have the quality to get out of this situation and we just have to fight every day, every game."
Courtois made his return to the team after an almost three-month recovery from a knee injury and he was having a good game until a bad punch on a corner kick led to Bournemouth's sole goal, although the team haven't looked good in defending set-pieces with or without him in the line-ups. Courtois felt the same about his showing, voicing his displeasure in having one bad moment that cost the game:
"I just try to play my game, help the team like every player wants to do. I think I started well with some good saves, but it's a pity for the goal I couldn't have a good touch on the ball."
"If you're being pushed by another guy it's not easy to have a hard hit on the ball and it ended up at the wrong foot and it was a goal."
Now Chelsea are set to fight for a Champions League round-of-16 qualification on Wednesday against Porto at home, as well as having to face current Premier League leaders Leicester City away at King Power Stadium on Monday. Two difficult matches that might set the tone for the remainder of the season:
"Of course we are upset, but we have to regroup again and show strength against Porto in the Champions League and next Monday at Leicester. It's an important week for us. On Wednesday we have to win to make sure we are first and qualified. That will be a big boost for the team as well."
"Then Leicester away is a difficult game. We knew last year it was not easy there and now they have the confidence and are playing really well. It will be a very tough game but we are confident we can push on there."
-Thibaut Courtois; Source: Chelsea FC
This season, Porto's away record stands at 6 wins and 3 draws in 9 official matches while Leicester have had 5 wins, 2 draws and 1 sole loss at home: a 5-2 stomping by Arsenal in September. It will be once again a trial by fire to the players and also to our manager, who is seemingly hanging on to his job by a thread once again.