The reigning champions were put to the sword by Eddie Howe’s fearless Bournemouth side, after a second half masterclass at Stamford Bridge.
Both sides started well enough and Chelsea slowly began controlling possession and dominating the game. However, some tame shots, decent defending and poor finishing later, both sides headed for the dressing room at the break with the scores at 0-0.
The Cherries raised the tempo in the second half and Chelsea had no reply. Their defence fell apart on multiple occasions and Bournemouth were clinical. They grew in confidence with each passing moment and in the space of 16 minutes, ruined Conte’s men on their home turf.
The Blues could do nothing with their 64% possession and out of their 21 shots, they managed only a paltry 5 on target. Bournemouth managed the same with 11. As things stand, the Blues are fourth on the table, level on points with Liverpool, and 3 points behind second placed Manchester United.
Thibaut Courtois: 5
Was beaten far too easily for the second goal and could have done better for the first. Was caught off guard for the second, so could do nothing for that goal. His defence didn’t make life any easier for him.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 5
The usually reliable Spaniard started the game well enough, but then like the rest of his team, fell apart in the second half. Was at fault for the first two goals for failing to track Callum Wilson and Junior Stanislas. However, he did work hard and was good in the air and recovered possession for his side well.
He saw more of the ball than any other Chelsea player, but wasn’t nearly as accurate with his passing as usual. Struggled to deal with the opponents pace. Uncharacteristically off day for the vice captain, but was still Chelsea’s best centerback on the night.
Andreas Christensen: N/A
Injured and had to be taken off in the 27th minute. A disappointing end, but dealt with whatever little he had to up until then well enough. Conte must surely be sweating over hit fitness with Barcelona approaching.
Gary Cahill: 4
Didn’t pay attention to Callum Wilson’s run which led to the first goal. Failed to close down Junior Stanislas for the second. Was caught ball watching once again and failed to mark Nathan Ake in front of him, who went on to score the third.
On a positive note, he was good in the air, winning all but one of his aerial duels and he distributed the ball well. Shouldn’t be made to play in the center of a three man defence as he looked really uncomfortable. One of his worst performances of the season.
Davide Zappacosta: 4.5
It was an off day in the office for the Italian. Couldn’t get the better of Bournemouth’s left wing like he would have. Couldn’t use his pace effectively and his inability to contribute in a meaningful way forced Conte to withdraw him just after the hour mark.
N’golo Kante: 6
Possibly his lowest rating of the season. With Bakayoko, he just couldn’t provide enough cover for his defence but did well going forward, threatening to score. It was a rare off day for the Frenchman, but he was still one of Chelsea’s best players on the night.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: 4
Another disappointing display from the Frenchman. He started well enough, trying to impose himself in midfield and it all looked to be going smoothly. But in the second half, Bournemouth came out looking like a different side and after his error led to the first goal, confidence was gone.
He then began struggling and just couldn’t keep up with Cook and Gosling. Struggled alongside Kante to paper the cracks in midfield and lost whatever little solidity was there completely. Antonio Conte and Chelsea continue to look for the Bakayoko that took Europe by storm last season. Hasn’t quite turned up yet.
Marcos Alonso: 5.5
Went close with two freekicks and a header. As industrious as ever going forward, but lacked his usual conviction. But given the schedule he’s had this season, one must consider the fatigue that must be setting in.
Including this game, the Spaniard has made 34 appearances across all competitions for the Chelsea this season. He has started all of those games as well. Emerson Palmieri’s arrival should give him some much needed rest, and Antonio Conte a long overdue selection headache for that left wingback position.
The Spaniard could barely impact the game. Was as hardworking as ever, but not his finest outing in a Chelsea shirt by some distance. Still looking to rediscover last season’s form, but so far that search isn’t yielding any good results. Forced Begovic into one save and had some more efforts at goal. That was it. Perhaps if Chelsea had a striker on the pitch, he might have had something to aim at.
Eden Hazard: 6.5
Was at his sparkling best when the ball was at his feat, completing a stunning 9 out of his 10 attempted takeons. But that hardly matters when you’re dispossessed almost just as quickly. The Belgian did create four chances for his teammates and even had a go at Begovic, but in vain.
Couldn’t save his teammates on this occasion with individual brilliance and couldn’t escape the collective mediocrity of the rest of his teammates. Not a striker and evidently ineffective as a false nine, and should not be playing that position. Anyone else, but not him. Giroud’s arrival may prove to be a saving grace for him, Pedro and Fabregas.
Ross Barkley: 5
The Englishman had an extremely disappointing outing. Still doesn’t seem to have gotten used to Conte’s methods and being played on the wings didn’t work for him either. Needs to be deployed in a more central role and needs to get match fit much sooner. Taken off just before the hour mark.
Antonio Rudiger: 4
Came on early in the game to replace Andreas Christensen, moving Cahill to the center of defence. His positioning was completely off and he seemed a bit lost at times. Seemed to lack understanding with Alonso and Cahill. A very disappointing outing from the German international.
Cesc Fabregas: 5
The Spaniard came on for Ross Barkley in the 54th minute. Distributed well and tried to create something with the possession they had, but couldn’t affect the game in a positive manner. In his defense, he didn’t have a striker to focus on upfront, which didn’t make things easier for him. Got himself booked.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 7
Arguably Chelsea’s best performing player on the night. The youngster was brought on in the 65th minute to replace Davide Zappacosta and put in a very good performance. His introduction brought the Bridge back to life and he didn’t disappoint, putting in a fine shift on the night.
He brought some much needed energy and fresh legs into the team and wasn’t overawed by the occasion. In fact, he looked confident in possession, completed 5 takeons and worked hard off the ball. Will surely give Moses and Zappacosta a run for their money and he was the only positive from an otherwise depressing night for Antonio Conte.