Sublime Cherries defeat champions
- Lee Probert
AFC Bournemouth recorded an excellent 3-0 win at the home of Premier League champions Chelsea this evening.
Second half goals from Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and Nathan Ake made for a memorable night at Stamford Bridge, as the Cherries remain unbeaten in the Premier League since Christmas.
The result also means that the Cherries have beaten the reigning Premier League champions in each of the club's three top flight campaigns.
Eddie Howe made just the one change from the Cherries’ last League outing at West Ham, as the returning Stanislas came in for Adam Smith.
The Cherries starting strongly, with a string of Stanislas corners swung in, but it was Chelsea who had the first real chance of the game.
Some neat footwork from Eden Hazard teed up a cross, but no Blues man was there to get on the end of it.
However, Howe’s side continued to press and it was Stanislas involved again, firing a low shot from 25-yards at Thibaut Courtois’ goal.
Moments later, it was Ryan Fraser steaming forward and almost through on goal after a neat one-two from Jordon Ibe, but the referee was forced to blow his whistle for a foul by Wilson in the build-up.
With the hosts on the back-foot, the Cherries looked the more likely side to break the deadlock, as Stanislas almost got on the end of a Wilson cross before Courtois stepped in.
Nevertheless, as the half-hour mark approach, Chelsea grew into the game, with Gary Cahill first to head over from Pedro’s cross, before the ever-alert Hazard missed the ball in from Marcos Alonso.
The left-back was soon involved again, getting on the end of Davide Zappacosta’s ball, only to head inches wide from close-range.
After the break, the Blues continued where they left off. Hazard was soon fouled by Lewis Cook, with Alonso directing his free-kick just over the bar.
However, with just five minutes of the half gone, the Cherries got what they deserved for their efforts.
Wilson stole the ball in the Chelsea half, before playing a one-two with Ibe, who slot the striker in neatly to finish beyond Courtois.
With the game barely restarted, Howe’s players were high in confidence and Lewis Cook took advantage of a nicely fallen ball, volleying it first time just over the bar.
A couple of Chelsea chances came and went, with Hazard ruled offside and Cherries ‘keeper Asmir Begovic called into action on more than one occasion.
But, the Cherries held their cool and their patience paid off once more.
Wilson and Stanislas combined excellently on the left, with the winger played through one-one-one against Courtois, making no mistake to slot home for 2-0.
With Howe’s side buoyed, there was no stopping the visitors at Stamford Bridge and a third duly followed.
A Cherries corner was swung in and cleared as far as Stanislas on the edge of the box, whose low shot was diverted in by ex-Chelsea defender Ake from six yards out.
Despite the 3-0 scoreline, the hosts refused to give up and it was Alonso who had the best of the chances.
Firstly, another free-kick was hit straight into the Cherries wall, whilst a shot from range then skimmed just wide of Begovic’s post.
Soon after, it was Pedro who fancied his chances, adopting a similar approach to Alonso and shooting from range. However, the Spaniard’s shot had much the same outcome, failing to hit the target once more.
As the game drew to a close, Chelsea has one final opportunity, as they continued to throw bodies forward.
Yet again, Alonso's cross fell to Hazard, but the Belgian could only volley over from inside the area, as the Cherries ran out as 3-0 winners on a memorable night at Stamford Bridge.