Bournemouth’s current league standing at 13th place — but only 2 points away from the relegation zone — had Chelsea setting up in the 3-4-3 shape, with an attacking line lead by false-nine Eden Hazard due to the absences of true #9s in injured Álvaro Morata, recently loaned Michy Batshuayi and recently arrived (and likely yet to be registered) Olivier Giroud. There is at least 17-year-old centre-forward Callum Hudson-Odoi ready to join the pitch from the bench if need be.
Eddie Howe’s side applied a bit of high pressure upon Chelsea from kickoff and gave a few headaches on our attempts to play from the back. But aside from a bone-headed mistake by Ross Barkley that gifted Bournemouth a good chance on the break that went to waste very early in the match, they were unable to really menace Thibaut Courtois’ goal.
The visitors had the lion’s share of offensive play in the initial minutes of the first half compared to Chelsea, who did not traverse as often as they usually do past the half-line and into our attacking third. The Cherries were almost always seeking to combine long passes with speed from their attackers to catch the Blues unguarded, while we patiently worked with the ball on build ups.
Things could have worsened when Andreas Christensen had to be substituted for Antonio Rüdiger due to an apparent hamstring injury, with Gary Cahill taking the centre-most spot of the back line. Instead, once the Cherries’ initial hustle started to falter 30 minutes into the game, Chelsea began to dominate play as they are ought to do at the Bridge.
Chelsea’s chances were far better than Bournemouth’s, even with the latter entrenching themselves deep in defence. However, none of them got through former Blue goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. At least we got the edge on momentum, with Eden looking eager to add to his already great goalscoring record versus the Cherries.
COME ON, CHELSEA!