Review by Phil Sawyer (Twitter: @sawyer_phil) Chelsea inflicted AFCB’s first defeat in six games on a Saturday afternoon, bathed in Spring sunshine on the South coast. Bournemouth can take heart from a decent performance, but ultimately struggled to match the quality of their visitors, who maintained their commanding lead at the top of the table.
The size of the task Eddie Howe’s men were facing became clear in the opening stages. Chelsea were clearly well organized, physically imposing and, in the supremely talented Eden Hazard, had the best player in the league.
It took piece of individual brilliance between the goalposts to deny Bournemouth an own goal. A rare error from a David Luiz sent the ball flying towards his own goal from close range, but a breathtaking reaction stop by the towering Thibault Courtois somehow kept it out. Against a team like Chelsea, The Cherries needed such moments to go their way, but luck wasn’t on their side.
The Blues, by contrast, did benefit from a huge slice of fortune to take the lead. Costa, who was lacklustre throughout, badly mis-hit a shot inside the area but instead of spinning harmlessly into the North Stand, it rolled at a snail’s pace into the bottom corner. Replays showed Adam Smith as the unfortunate defender, who not only took the effort straight in his face, but was also credited with an own goal to compound his misery.
From this point, the visitors pushed on and soon found their second through a deft Eden Hazard shimmy, which took him around Boruc, having been put through by Kante’s precision pass. Bournemouth, to their credit, launched a spirited response, but again found themselves on the end of some rotten luck. Afobe clattered his Charlie Daniels cross into the inside of the post and despite the ball rebounding onto the goalkeeper, it somehow contrived to stay out.
Joshua King, Bournemouth’s outstanding player on the afternoon, did manage to pull one back for his side just before half time, with a lashed shot from inside the box. This lead to a short period at the start of the second half where AFCB were pushing for an equalizer, but a moment of real quality put paid to their challenge. Marcos Alonso curled an inch perfect free kick into the top corner, leaving Boruc helpless.
Had things fallen Bournemouth’s way, the result could have swung in their favour, but it was Chelsea who showed their class on the day and the Londoners will surely seal a deserved premier league title in the coming weeks.