A solitary Eden Hazard goal proved to be enough for Chelsea, as they eased to a narrow 0-1 victory against a thoroughly outplayed AFC Bournemouth side.
The Blues dominated from the very beginning of the game, right up until the very end. However, they were extremely wasteful on the night. Had they taken their chances, this match would’ve likely seen the biggest scoreline of this Premier League season.
Antonio Conte fielded a strong starting XI, surprising considering that they face a trip to AS Roma in a few days. However, it seemed as if they came with instructions to take it easy. The Blues didn’t even need to take it to top gear to establish their dominance and restricted the hosts to only one shot on target.
Bournemouth lost both Junior Stanislas and Benik Afobe to injury late in the game and that didn’t help either. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Antonio Conte’s men
Thibaut Courtois: 7
Barely troubled in the game, Courtois was called into action only once in the game and it was a shot that came straight at him. Otherwise it was only collecting loose or airborne balls. Had the best seat in the house for most of the games.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7
A fine performance from the Spaniard, who led his teammates out as captain in place of Gary Cahill. A strong outing at the heart of defence and this kind of performance shows that he is far more comfortable here than at wing-back. A confident, composed showing.
David Luiz: 7
The Brazilian was largely untroubled for most of the game, but did a good job of keeping the Bournemouth attack quiet on the few occasions he was called upon. Distributed the ball well to release counter attacks and dealt with the pressure well.
Antonio Rudiger: 7
Got a superb block in to deny Jordan Ibe in the 55th minute. It was a good performance from the German, building on his impressive outing against Everton a few days earlier. He cut a confident figure in defence, wasn’t really troubled, but stepped up and took charge when called upon.
Davide Zappacosta: 7
The Italian started his second consecutive game at right wing-back and continued to impress. A genuine attacking threat going forward, he put in a few threatening crosses and was a menace down the right flank, but didn’t shy away from defensive duties. Victor Moses has some serious competition when he returns from injury.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: 7
Didn’t get ahead too much in the game, as he sat and and chose to screen his defence. Kept the Bournemouth attack at bay and ensured that his team retained possession and allowed the likes of Fabregas to dictate the play and maintain Chelsea’s pressure in the opposition half.
Cesc Fabregas: 6
Ran the show from the middle of the park, dictated the pace of the game and nearly got on the scoresheet as well. Not the most impactful game, and looked extremely fatigued. He has appeared in all but one Chelsea game so far this season, and looks like he needs a rest.
Marcos Alonso: 6
Alonso came back into the squad after being afforded a game off for only the second time this season. It was a quite match for the Spaniard, who took some time to get into the game. Nevertheless, he defended well when required and made a number of key tackles, without offering much going forward.
The Spaniard didn’t have the kind of impact as he would’ve liked. Pedro did however, link up well with Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata on a few occasions, but couldn’t get on the score sheet or get an assist. Caused the Bournemouth defence trouble with his pace and directness.
Alvaro Morata: 7
Will be disappointed to have not gotten on the scoresheet, given that he had so many clear cut chances. Had a goal ruled out as offside, perhaps wrongly. However he did set up Hazard’s goal after a good display of individual strength, to take his tally of assists to three for the season.
Eden Hazard: 9
The Belgian maestro was fantastic on the night. Easily the best player on the pitch, Hazard created a staggering seven goalscoring chances, but was let down by some sub par finishing from his teammates. Scored a fantastic goal and was a contsant nuisance for the Bournemouth defence.
Involved in everything substantial going forward for the Blues and will be more relieved that anyone to have finally gotten off the mark in the Premier League. It has a been a long road to recovery for the Belgian and it finally seems as if he’s back to his very best once again.