Bournemouth hold toothless Chelsea in check
Young, injured Blues held in check by a Cherries side which will feel it could’ve secured a famous win from 0-0 draw
Mauricio Pochettino’s young, injured, and young and injured Chelsea staged a scoreless draw with well-prepared Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.
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Bournemouth grabs a third point and sits 15th, moving ahead of Wolves on tiebreakers. Chelsea’s fifth point have it just one point higher.
Chelsea’s youth begging for on-field hero, as injuries hamper Pochettino’s plans
Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling were the only Chelsea starters over the age of 25, with only two Blues even at that marker (Axel Disasi and Robert Sanchez). And while injuries are a big part of Chelsea’s slow start, veteran leadership isn’t just going to magically heal up even with captain Reece James, just 23 himself.
Nicolas Jackson again had trouble finishing but was kept in the game largely because there weren’t other options at center forward. Mauricio Pochettino inserted Ian Maatsen and Cole Palmer as more young bucks joined relatively-ancient Ben Chilwell (26) in trying to find all three points.
It’s just not there for the Blues right now, who were dragged into a fight by a cagier side and committed 20 of the game’s 34 (?!) fouls. You feel the Blues need to score early to win because the in-game nous just isn’t in them at the moment. There were three players aged 20 or younger in the XI and two of the subs just 21. Talent only gets you so far.
Chelsea’s off until next Sunday’s visit from Aston Villa. That’ll kickoff at 9am ET, the same time as Bournemouth’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.
How to watch Bournemouth vs Chelsea live, stream link, time
Kickoff: 9 am ET, Sunday (Sept. 17)
TV: USA Network
Online: Watch online via NBCSports.com
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino wants Chelsea to win games, but he’s asking patience with the project for as long as the club is dealing with double-digit injuries.
But he also understands why some away fans booed the team at Bournemouth, given the club’s expectations and spending (from football.london):
“With all of the squad fit we can compete. We don’t have all of the squad available, what can we do? For me, nothing to say, the fans can [boo]. Twelve injured today, three of four young guys, two keepers on the bench, I am going to cry, I am going to complain, to who? I have to accept this. That is the circumstance and we need to accept. We have our opinion, our reality. I think we are doing good things, more than people can expect but I told you before the season, Chelsea is about the win. young players need to feel what it means to be a Chelsea player. I can understand emotion, football is about emotion. The fans will help the team win.”
Pochettino also said the team was pushing too hard in the final third instead of playing the game and taking what was available to them, even mentioning his 38-year-old stalwart center back Thiago Silva for his role in pressuring the attackers.
“We were talking with Thiago to be more relaxed because sometimes the defensive player wants to help the team to score and we need to be clever. Too many players are still learning about the game and that is constructing a new team and we need to improve. In these types of games when you are pushing, if you cannot win, you cannot lose. One of the things I am disappointed about is we tried to go too much and we created more confusion and allowed the opponent more chances.”
Plenty of work to do for Mr. Pochettino.
Chelsea center back Axel Disasi spoke to Premier League Productions following the 0-0 draw at Bournemouth. Here are some snippers.
On being blanked: “The defenders of Bournemouth did a very good job in their box so it’s about us. We need to work more, we need to be more dangerous in their box, we need to kill our opponent when we have the chance to do it. We have to work to keep going and stay positive.”
On some boos from the away end: “We understand the fans because they want us to win every game. We are Chelsea, we are a great club, an ambitious club. We have to keep going and together I think we will get wins.”
The graphic says it all: Both goalkeepers were the standouts, but not in a 10-star, couldn’t be beaten way.
Thiago Silva played his part again. The veteran Chelsea center back connected on 8-of-9 long balls and was near-unbeatable at the heart of the defense.
Lloyd Kelly was pretty good in the same role, albeit 14 years younger, at the other end. Eight defensive actions and 11 passes into the final third.
Bournemouth had a plan to counter but found itself in a 50-50 endeavor by the latter stages of the game.
Chelsea had 64% possession but that waned as Bournemouth’s subs helped put the Cherries into dangerous places.
Chelsea won the xG game 1.70-1.19 and edged shot attempts 14-13. There were 34 fouls in the game, and Chelsea committed 20.
Good point for Bournemouth, but Andoni Iraola may think he should’ve had a famous win.
The other keeper’s thriving under pressure now, as Neto denies a half-speed hit that Cole Palmer may be replaying for some time.
Lloyd Kelly kicks the underside of Malo Gusto’s boot and fells the fullback, but there’s nothing coming from VAR.
Into the final minutes now. 0-0, 88'
The Vitality Stadium is making the chances feel even more dangerous than they are, but Bournemouth is living in the Chelsea third.
Robert Sanchez is keeping this one scoreless, and so is ex-Chelsea man Dominic Solanke. The center forward has not met the playmaking of Phillip Billing and others with proper finish.
The Cherries had to scrap for 70 minutes and find a bit of luck to get here scoreless, but Andoni Iraola senses three points really are on offer and he’s going for it.
Justin Kluivert came on for Dango Ouattara in the 63rd minute and Leeds loanee Luis Sinisterra joining the fray along with Marcos Senesi in the 74th. Marcus Tavernier and Milos Kerkez make way.
Bournemouth’s forced Robert Sanchez to make three saves, the same number Chelsea’s coaxed out of Neto. The Blues look to be preparing Ben Chilwell and Ian Maatsen.
That’s the day for Mykhailo Mudryk, who is replaced by young Cole Palmer.
Mudryk exits with two created chances, 6-of-11 duels won, and six defensive actions.
Chelsea wants a penalty for handball in the six after Neto denied Nicolas Jackson at close range, but VAR’s review is short and dismissive.
Myhailo Mudryk has been dangerous and is dragged down by Max Aarons, drawing a free kick just outside the box.
Raheem Sterling curls his free kick off the far post and the ball only half-crosses the line before Levi Colwill smashes the rebound home from an acute angle.
But Colwill jumped the line on Sterling’s kick and is offside.
Chelsea is full of possession that signifies strength and talent but not a lot of confidence.
Both the Blues and Cherries have taken five shots and will rue big misses. Chelsea is edging xG — 0.50-0.47 — and has shown bite with 12 of the game’s 19 first-half fouls (Those are big numbers).
The finish needs to come and the bench suggests the XI ought to sort it out; Chelsea has Ben Chilwell, Cole Palmer, Ian Maatsen, two goalkeepers, and four players only true believers will know well.
Conor Gallagher is in a very good position, maybe 15 yards out, and he snaps a low shot toward the Bournemouth goal.
It’s a bit too close to Neto, who makes a very good save with his right glove.
The clearance is fired off a charging Mykhailo Mudryk and bounds out of play for a Bournemouth goal kick.
And as we type of Chelsea’s dominance, Bournemouth counter and win a free kick.
Quickly-taken, the Cherries find Dango Ouattara on the edge of the six but Robert Sanchez is decisive and makes a terrific stop on the game’s first truly dangerous sight of goal.
Bournemouth’s had just 30% of the ball but that was oh-so-close to 1-0 and a very loud Vitality Stadium.
The Blues are in complete control here.
If it were any other team with this much hold of a game, you’d say a goal is coming soon.
But the last year-plus has found Chelsea to be chance-rich and finish-shy.
Nicolas Jackson has come close and Mykhailo Mudryk has joined Raheem Sterling in looking lively.
How changed is Chelsea from the start of last season?
Even more today, as Lesley Ugochukwu joins the Starting XI for the first time. He’s joined by Conor Gallagher, who captains the side, and Enzo Fernandez in midfield.
Ben Chilwell is on the bench, and Chelsea’s injury list remains high. The Blues are missing:
OUT: Reece James (thigh), Christopher Nkunku (knee), Romeo Lavia (ankle), Carney Chukwuemeka (knee), Wesley Fofana (torn ACL), Marcus Bettinelli (undisclosed)
QUESTIONABLE: Benoit Badiashile (thigh), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Armando Broja (knee)
OUT: Alex Scott (knee), Dango Outtara (ankle), Ryan Fredericks (calf), Emiliano Marcondes (ankle), Tyler Adams (hamstring)