Chelsea managed to secure all three points at the Vitality stadium, against a resilient Bournemouth side and go fourth in the Premier League, thanks to Eden Hazard’s first league goal of the campaign.
Harzard’s strike just after half-time was enough to earn Chelsea the points in a game which was for large periods dominated by the Blues.
Chelsea came into the game outside of the top four, with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City, who are now above them in the table, all winning earlier in the day.
The Cherries, on the other hand, were in the bottom three of the table with just seven points from their first nine games this season. However, after winning against Stoke 2-1 away last week in the league and 3-1 against Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup in midweek, they came into the match in a good run of form.
The Blues made 10 changes from the team that beat Everton 2-1 in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, with the likes of Hazard, Alvaro Morata, Pedro Rodriguez and Cesc Fabregas all starting.
Bournemouth also made multiple changes from the team who won their league cup match against Middlesbrough in midweek, as eight players were replaced for today’s game. Jermain Defoe, Benik Afobe, Junior Stanislas and, the former Chelsea player, Nathan Ake all returned to the starting lineup, while midweek goalscorer Callum Wilson dropped to the bench.
The match began with a good tempo from both sides but Chelsea had the first opportunity, as Pedro dove the ball to just outside of the Bournemouth box but blazed his shot over the goal. After that Chelsea began to dominate the possession as Bournemouth sat back and allowed them to have the ball to keep a tight defensive unit.
Chelsea continued to probe and almost took the lead again when Hazard was released on the right side, he then drove a low cross to the near post to Morata but his effort was deflected out of play by Bournemouth keeper Begovic for a corner.
Morata then missed another glorious opportunity around the 20 minute mark after a mistake for Begovic. The goalkeeper cleared a ball straight to Harzard’s feet in the middle of The Cherries half, the Belgium star then ran towards the goal and slipped Morata in, only for the Spaniard the slide the ball past the keeper, but on the wrong side of the post.
Excellent save from Begovic. Morata with some neat footwork and only denied by the ‘keeper’s left arm. #BOUCHE 0-0 ⚪ (31)
— AFC Bournemouth (@afcbournemouth) October 28, 2017
After half time, Jordon Ibe replaced Jermain Defoe for Bournemouth, and it had a positive effect on the home side as they started to retain a bit more of the possession at the beginning of the half.
However, the visitors finally broke through just after the 50 minute mark as Morata released Harzard on the left-hand side, he then marched towards goal and drove a low shot to the keeper’s near post, which Begovic was unable to keep it out and London side took the lead.
Bournemouth finally had a good opportunity as the ball fell to substitute Jordan Ibe on the edge of the away side’s box, around the centre mark. He shifted the ball quickly to his left foot and struck a powerful shot, but it took a deflection as it went over the goal.
The home team were forced into a change around the hour mark as Stanislas pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Marc Pugh. Despite Chelsea taking the lead, the game was looking a bit more even than the first half, as Ibe had another effort on goal for the home side from around 30-yards-out, but smashed it way over the goal.
The Cherries were again forced into a third and final substitution as Benik Afobe, like Stanislas, was unable to continue and was substituted by Callum Wilson. Chelsea then made a double change shortly after as Pedro and Morata were withdrawn for Danny Drinkwater and Michy Batshuayi.
FT: Bournemouth 0-1 Chalsea. Hazard. Never mind the performance, feel the points.
— Dan Levene (@danlevene) October 28, 2017
Chelsea almost doubled their lead as Hazard played in Fabregas on the left side of the six-yard box in the penalty area, but the Spaniard was unable to keep his effort down as it went over the bar. Goalscorer Hazard was then replaced a little bit after by Willian as The Blues made their final substitution.
But despite Bournemouth’s better play in the second half, they were unable to find an equaliser as Bournemouth’s first effort on target in the match from Steve Cook was saved by Chelsea keeper Courtois in stoppage time, and Chelsea secured the win.