You can’t say that this result wasn’t coming. A 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth leaves the Chelsea faithful with a real bitter taste in their mouths, especially because you can’t argue that Bournemouth didn’t deserve it.
Just like timing of the defeats to Crystal Palace and West Ham, the seeds of this defeat could be seen from miles away. Nine matches in the month of January is a lot, but in the ninth match, Chelsea looked like devoid of ideas and lacking any sort of sharpness.
Of course, there are reinforcements on the way. It’s unlikely that Chelsea will play another match this season without a recognised striker in the side, and though Eden Hazard tried his best to play that role, he’s not really suited to that position.
Olivier Giroud was introduced to the crowd at the half, and it’s likely he will take that position on Monday against Watford if Alvaro Morata is still not fit.
But take nothing away from Bournemouth. Eddie Howe’s side were very good on the night and set the tone in the first half by locking the door to Asmir Begovic’s goal.
The first half was a tight, cagey affair with neither side really creating chances, the best chance of the first half coming when Gary Cahill’s header scraped the top the bar from Pedro’s corner.
But Bournemouth planted the seeds for the second half. While Chelsea continued to toil away trying to find a way through an excellent back five, Bournemouth began to find space on the counter.
Bournemouth’s first goal came from a classic counter. Tiemoue Bakayoko was a bit too casual on the ball, and Callum Wilson collected the ball, played a one-two with Jordon Ibe to get around Gary Cahill, and Wilson glided through on goal to pass the ball under the stranded Thibault Courtois.
Chelsea tried their best to answer back as Hazard galloped through the Bournemouth defence only to fire a shot straight at Begovic.
It would only get worse for the home side. Andreas Christensen limped off in the first half with an apparent hamstring injury, forcing Cahill into the centre of the three-man defence. He clearly wasn’t comfortable positionally, and after another Bournemouth counter, Wilson slipped a reverse pass behind Cahill that caught him napping, and Junior Stanislas raced through a clipped his shot by Courtois to double the lead.
Former Chelsea youth player Nathan Ake came back to haunt his former club when Chelsea failed to clear a corner and the defence again got caught napping when Stanislas cut inside and played a ball through for Ake to just calmly side-foot into an empty net.
Fabregas was introduced for the ineffective Ross Barkley and did produce a couple of gorgeous passes over the top. One such pass led to a decent penalty shout when Fabregas sent Hazard on a run behind the Bournemouth defence, and Pedro’s goal-bound header from Hazard’s cross struck the outstretched arm of Ake, but nothing was given.
There was a Premier League debut for Callum Hudson-Odoi in the second half, and the youngster looked lively after slowly adjusting to the pace of the match. But that might be the only positive takeaway for Chelsea, as they prepare to go again on Monday against Watford.