Following three wins from their opening three Premier League matches this season, Chelsea made it four from four with a 2-0 home win over Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon. The goals came from Pedro and Eden Hazard in the second half as it looked like the game might end goalless.
An entertaining but goalless first-half
Maurizio Sarri’s only change from the side that beat Newcastle last week saw Willian start ahead of Pedro out wide alongside Hazard and Alvaro Morata. It was an electric start to the match as both sides looked to break the deadlock early on, it was Cesar Azpilicueta who nearly accidentally put the hosts in front as his right-wing cross almost crept inside Asmir Begovic’s far post.
Although out of nowhere, Bournemouth nearly went a goal to the good, the ball dropped kindly to Dan Gosling on the edge of the penalty area and his shot flew inches over the crossbar, the closest the visitors came to scoring inside 20 minutes. Willian was justifying the manager’s decision to start him as he looked lively for the hosts, creating chances and having some of his own, one of which sailed just wide of the post.
On the half-hour mark, Chelsea should’ve really been behind as a wonderfully weighted cross landed right at the feet of Callum Wilson inside the 18-yard box. The English striker snatched at his half-volley which ended up far too high when it really should’ve tested Kepa Arrizabalaga. The first-half drew to a close with the Blues on top but Bournemouth looking more than dangerous on the counter-attack.
Job done… eventually
Hazard seemed largely out of the game for the opening 45 minutes and it was thanks to some well-drilled tight marking from the Cherries defence who weren’t giving the tricky playmaker a chance to breathe in possession. It was one of those defenders who thought he must’ve scored the opener at the beginning of the second period. Nathan Ake, at his former home ground, found space inside the six-yard box at a corner but could only send his half-volley flying over the bar.
Cards were being dished out left, right and centre as the game began to become a scrappy one but after replacing Willian after 65 minutes, Pedro found a way to put his side ahead. Just seven minutes after coming on, the Spaniard exchanged a neat one-two with Olivier Giroud 20 yards out before curling a great strike into the far corner, lifting the mood at Stamford Bridge in the process.
As the visitors pushed for a late equaliser, their hopes of a point were destroyed. The home side flooded forward after a failed Bournemouth attack and Marcos Alonso, who had found space down the left, picked out Hazard inside the box who did the rest, slotting the ball home from 10 yards. Sarri’s men certainly weren’t at their best but they still managed to pick up a deserved victory against a well-established top-flight side.
A two-week international break now means that Chelsea’s next fixture will be in a fortnight’s time as they host newly-promoted Cardiff.