The Cherries welcomed the Blues to the Vitality Stadium for this Gameweek 5 fixture in the Premier League. Both teams have not had particularly electrifying starts to their campaigns, but with the recent International break allowing for additional time on the training ground for the managers to work on tactics and preparation, a victory for either side in this match could be the springboard required to launch an ascent up to the top half of the table.
In recent seasons, Chelsea have had their struggles against Bournemouth – both at Stamford Bridge and on the road, so Pochettino would be hoping for a statement performance from his side. The home side would be confident coming up against a Chelsea team that is very much in a transition period.
BOU: Neto; Aarons, Zabarnyi, Kelly, Kerkez; Christie, Cook, Billing; Ouattara, Solanke, Tavernier
CHE: Sanchez; Gusto, Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Gallagher, Ugochukwu; Sterling, Fernandez, Mudryk; Jackson
With the away side sporting their new mint-coloured third kit, and Bournemouth donning their traditional red and black stripes, the game started in an energetic fashion as the rain lashed down on the south coast. Chelsea had rung the changes to their starting lineup, with some alterations being enforced through injuries and others as more tactical decisions.
Mykhailo Mudryk was heavily involved in the game’s opening chance, combining with Nicolas Jackson on the left-hand side, as a smart one-two allowed for the Senegalese striker to fire hard and low – just striking the outside of the post in the 13th minute.
Bournemouth would have the next notable opportunity in the 18th minute. A lapse in concentration from Chelsea from a dead ball saw Dango Ouattara played in at the back post, forcing Robert Sanchez into a smart reactionary save. The Spaniard sought to prove his worth for the West London side, following his acquisition from Brighton in the summer.
As the half wore on, the match became more open and was fairly end-to-end. However, there was no real end product from either side – which has been the story of the season thus far for both teams. A golden opportunity would fall the way of Conor Gallagher in the 32nd minute after a loose ball in the box fell at the midfielder’s feet, but for all his composure and quick feet, the strike was ultimately saved well by Neto to keep the match goalless.
Frustrations were clear as the half closed out, notably with Mudryk picking up a needless yellow card for hacking down Aarons after a loose touch from the Ukranian. But as the referee blew the halftime whistle, neither team would have been particularly pleased with their overall play in the match.
There were no half-time changes, and the game settled back into the same rhythm as most of the opening 45 with Chelsea holding most of the possession. Some quick feet saw Mudryk drawing a foul in the 47th minute, leaving Chelsea with a dangerous free-kick just outside the area. The excellent curling effort from Raheem Sterling hit the inside of the post, but the ball did not completely cross the line. Levi Colwill bundled in on the follow-up – but the goal was ruled out as the centre-back had been deemed to be marginally offside. Fine margins, but the score remained 0-0.
Reece James was unavailable for the match this afternoon, as he continued his rehabilitation from his most recent injury, and in the 56th minute, his replacement Malo Gusto went down under a heavy challenge and Blues fans would have been fearing the worst – but after a brief period of treatment, the Frenchman was able to continue without much fuss.
Both coaches looked to freshen up their sides in the 62nd minute with the lively but frustrating Mudryk being subbed off for Cole Palmer for the away side. Andoni Iraola also opted for a change on the wing with Ouattara being replaced by Justin Kluivert.
Confusion from a corner in the 64th minute saw some fine last-ditch defending and heroic goalkeeping from Bournemouth to keep the ball out of the net, with Neto in particular faring incredibly well against any chance that fell Chelsea’s way.
In a similar fashion to the first half, Bournemouth grew in confidence the longer they were able to keep their clean sheet intact and were almost able to take the lead, with a whipped cross from Kluivert that was unable to be turned home by any of his team-mates, as the game reached the final 20 minutes.
Bournemouth’s attacking pressure intensified as the game came to a close, with hopes of inflicting another defeat on their West London opponents in front of the Bournemouth faithful clear in their minds. Mauricio Pochettino would react by by bringing on Ben Chilwell and Ian Maatsen for Colwill and Enzo Fernandez respectively, with ten minutes remaining. But the game would end without a legitimate goal score by either team, mostly down to the inspired efforts of both goalkeepers.
The result leaves Bournemouth still searching for their first win in the league this season, but they will be buoyed by their efforts this afternoon ahead of their away match against Brighton next Sunday. For Chelsea, the draw means they remain in the bottom half of the table, having only picked up five points from their opening five matches – one of their worst starts to a league campaign in the club’s history.