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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Chelsea FC 0 - 3 AFC Bournemouth: Cherries pick off Chelsea in stunning second-half show

Bournemouth scored three goals in 16 remarkable second-half minutes to record a sensational 3-0 victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
Callum Wilson opened the scoring for the visitors shortly after the interval before Junior Stanislas doubled their lead with 64 minutes on the clock.
Former Chelsea defender Nathan Ake then netted a third moments later to stun Antonio Conte’s toothless side on a night to forget for the Premier League champions.
With Alvaro Morata injured, Michy Batshuayi moving on loan to Borussia Dortmund and new signing Olivier Giroud here in west London but unavailable, Eden Hazard was tasked with leading the Chelsea line as Ross Barkley, making his first start for the club, slotted in behind.
Thibaut Courtois was back in goal for Chelsea following a four-game absence, and, perhaps ominously, it was the Belgium international who was the busiest of the two goalkeepers in the opening exchanges.
First, he comfortably saved from Wilson before hanging on to Jordon Ibe’s long-range effort after the former Liverpool man was allowed to carry the ball unchallenged.
It was an underwhelming opening from the Blues and the home supporters had to wait until the half-hour mark to see their side muster a first real assault on Asmir Begovic’s goal after Gary Cahill headed a Pedro corner onto the roof of the net.
Chelsea enjoyed a short burst of pressure, with Begovic called upon to deal with Barkley’s deflected effort, while Hazard then appeared to be through on goal only for Steve Cook to expertly dispossess the Belgian with a well-timed sliding challenge.
With five minutes of the opening half remaining Marcos Alonso’s header from a pin-point Hazard cross trickled just wide of Begovic’s far post.
A clearly disgruntled Conte would have demanded much more from his side at the interval, only to witness an extraordinary collapse.
With 51 minutes on the clock, a dithering Tiemoue Bakayoko was caught in possession. Wilson latched on to the loose ball, played a neat one-two with Ibe, before coolly slotting past an on-rushing Courtois to give the visitors the lead.
In truth it was no more than they deserved, and dramatically it was to get even better for Eddie Howe’s travelling team.
First, Wilson played the ball through to Stanislas who poked the ball through Courtois’ legs after 64 minutes. Then, just three minutes later, the Cherries were in dreamland as Ake beat the offside trap to score against his former employers.
Chelsea failed to deal with a corner, and Stanislas’ shot-cum-cross was converted by an unmarked Ake from six yards.
Bournemouth, who until Wednesday evening had never scored three goals on the road against a side from the league’s so-called ‘top six’, were in dreamland.
A shell-shocked Chelsea attempted to rally, but for all their possession, failed to test Begovic. They could have been handed a lifeline when Pedro’s header hit Ake’s arm with 20 minutes remaining but referee Lee Probert waved away their appeals.
That would be as good as Chelsea’s response got. Boos rang around Stamford Bridge from those supporters who bothered to hang around until the final whistle, with the Blues dropping below Liverpool on goal difference.
For Bournemouth, they are now unbeaten in six league games, and their victory here will surely rank as one of the finest in their history.