Blues’ confident win marred by clean sheet and Costa concerns
Chelsea saw off a spirited Bournemouth side in an enjoyable encounter at the Vitality Stadium that saw them draw another step closer to Premier League glory.
The first half was close, with early goals for Chelsea giving them a healthy lead that was more comfortable than their play deserved.
The Blues were ahead early through what initially appeared to be Diego Costa, the striker turning smartly in the box to shake off a defender and fire a snapshot at goal.
It later transpired that Costa’s shot had been heading wide before it took a deflection off Adam Smith which pushed it inside the post.
With a lead in the bag the Blues continued to press forward, with Victor Moses marking his return with several bursting runs across the pitch to stretch the play.
It was man of the moment Eden Hazard who got the next however, the Belgian running on to an excellent pass from N’Golo Kante before feinting his way past Artur Boruc and rolling the ball into the net from a tight angle. It was a moment of brilliance that seemed to mark the end of the game as a contest.
But Bournemouth battled their way back into the game and continued to threaten as Chelsea tried to slow the game down. The Cherries were rewarded when Josh King’s shot hit a backtracking David Luiz and flew past the helpless Thibaut Courtois. It’s the ninth game in the row that the Belgian has conceded, but the stopper was blameless here.
The second half saw a lively start from both sides. Chelsea had two great chances fashioned down the left, one which Marcos Alonso failed to deliver to the waiting Costa, one that Costa himself should have finished but somehow didn’t.
The game was very balanced heading into its final quarter, with Bournemouth keeping the ball but unable to break down their opposition in white, while Antonio Conte’s side were wary of their threat while they probed for the killing blow.
It came from nowhere, with Marcos Alonso stepping up to a free kick that it had looked like David Luiz was set to take, whipping a perfect curler into the top corner. The Spaniard could have scored again minutes later with a header at the far post as the Blues continued their procession to victory.
Diego Costa’s poor play and the failure to keep a clean sheet were the only black marks on what was otherwise a pleasant day in our white kits in the sun.
Chelsea failed to increase their lead through Costa and others, but Bournemouth finally looked beaten, and in the end two goal margin was enough to see them back to London with another big three points in the title race safely up on the board.