Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea: Eden Hazard seals win for visitors
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 29/10/17 8:14am
Eden Hazard's first Premier League goal of the season secured a 1-0 win for Chelsea against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors went close several times in the first half before Hazard flashed a near-post finish past Cherries goalkeeper Asmir Begovic on 51 minutes.
Bournemouth created little but their best opening came when substitute Jordon Ibe saw his left-footed effort deflect narrowly over Thibaut Courtois' crossbar.
The result means Chelsea sit fourth, nine points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, while Bournemouth remain 19th having taken just seven points from their opening 10 games.
Bournemouth: Begovic (5), Francis (5), Ake (6), S Cook (5), Smith (4), L Cook (5), Surman (5), Daniels (6), Stanislas (5), Defoe (4), Afobe (4)
Subs: Pugh (5), Ibe (5), Wilson (5)
Chelsea: Courtois (7), Azpilicueta (8), Luiz (8), Rudiger (8), Zappacosta (8), Bakayoko (7), Fabregas (8), Alonso (7), Pedro (7), Morata (7), Hazard (8)
Subs: Drinkwater (6), Willian (6), Batshuayi (6)
Man of the match: Eden Hazard
It was a difficult evening for the Cherries, who didn't register their first shot on target until stoppage time and also lost Benik Afobe and Junior Stanislas to injury.
Alvaro Morata wasted two good first-half chances for Chelsea, first firing wide after a poor Begovic clearance before the Bournemouth 'keeper denied the Spaniard with a smart save.
The Chelsea striker had the ball in the net after 28 minutes but Cesar Azpilicueta was flagged offside just prior to Morata's close-range finish.
Jermain Defoe was passed fit to start for Bournemouth after a hamstring injury but Josh King missed out due to a back problem. Chelsea made one change from the 4-2 win over Watford as Davide Zappacosta replaced captain Gary Cahill.
Having failed to make their dominance count before half-time, the visitors went ahead just six minutes after the restart as Hazard latched onto Morata's through ball and beat Begovic at his near post.
Ibe, who replaced the ineffective Jermain Defoe at the interval, fired narrowly over as Bournemouth went in search of an equaliser but their first attempt on target did not come until the 93rd minute, when Courtois kept out Steve Cook's drive.
The home fans' loudest cheer was reserved for substitute Callum Wilson, who made his first appearance since January after successive knee surgeries.
- Chelsea have won six of their last seven away Premier League games (L1).
- Bournemouth have picked up just four points from their five Premier League home games this season (W1 D1 L3), after accruing 10 points from their last five last season (W3 D1 L1).
- Eden Hazard has scored five goals in five Premier League appearances against Bournemouth, with four of those strikes arriving on the south coast.
Eddie Howe: "It's a crisis in the Premier League when you lose one game. It's a commonly used word.
"We're concerned, of course we are. November is a massive month for us."
Antonio Conte: "Today it was important: a good win, also because the other teams all won, apart from Tottenham who lost.
"I know very well that, in England in this league, there are six top teams, very strong. Four go into the Champions League. Two have to stay out and play Europa League.
Man of the match - Eden Hazard
Hazard was the best player on the pitch at the Vitality, linking up well with Morata and Pedro as Chelsea created enough opportunities to win the game more comfortably than the scoreline suggested.
In fact, the Belgium international was responsible for most of them, creating seven goalscoring chances in the game. Only Mesut Ozil (8 v Everton) has managed more in a single Premier League match this season.
He now has three goals in his last three games for Chelsea in all competitions, as many as he managed in his previous 17 matches.
With Chelsea already playing catch up in the title race and also looking to progress from a tough Champions League group, his return to form is a timely one.
Chelsea face a quick turnaround as they head to Italy to face Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday before hosting Manchester United on Nissan Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Struggling Bournemouth resume Premier League action with a big clash against Newcastle at St James' Park next Saturday.