Cherries held in entertaining draw
- David Coote
AFC Bournemouth registered another Premier League point following a goalless draw with Chelsea at Vitality Stadium.
The game started with plenty of energy, Chelsea creating the better of the chances. Conor Gallagher, captaining the visitors, couldn't direct Mykhailo Mudryk's powerful cut-back towards goal. Raheem Sterling was shown a yellow card for bringing down Dominic Solanke on the break from the resulting corner.
The Cherries' high pressing tactic was evident early on, with Chelsea needing good close control to play out from the back on a number of occasions.
The visitors continued to create opportunities in the opening stages, with Sterling flashing the ball across goal following a neat flick from Gallagher, and Nicolas Jackson striking the foot of the post from range.
The home crowd burst into life shortly afterwards following a well-worked free-kick. Ryan Christie was alert to Lewis Cook's quick thinking, and slid the ball across goal for Dango Ouattara. Robert Sanchez was quickly out of his goal to block the strike, also holding on to Marcus Tavernier's shot from the rebound.
The hosts grew into the game as the half wore on, but had Neto to thank for a wonderful one-handed save to deny Gallagher the game's first goal. The midfielder had made himself space well in the middle of the penalty area, firing back across the Cherries skipper who got down well to make the stop.
Sterling was involved again shortly after the break, as his free-kick struck the underside of the crossbar. The rebound was turned in by Colwill from close range but was offside as the set piece was taken.
Cherries fans were in fine voice again when Lewis Cook forced Sanchez into a save and Milos Kerkez pounced on the loose ball to cut it back into the box. The visitors were defending in numbers and managed to clear their lines.
Luis Sinisterra was introduced for the final 20 minutes, his first appearance in red and black following a deadline day loan move from Leeds United.
Solanke had two chances to put the Cherries ahead as the game entered the final stages.
The first, from Billing's pass from the left, was excellently saved by the feet of Sanchez, and the second, a following Justin Kluivert's floated cross, was headed just wide.
In an end-to-end final ten minutes, Cola Palmer almost snatched a goal for Chelsea but for a superb Neto parry in the box, before a monstrous block from substitute Marcos Senesi stopped what looked like a clear goal for Colwill in the box.
The action didn't stop there during the pulsating finish, with the Cherries countering well and almost getting the winner, but after a clever piece of play by Kluivert, Solanke just couldn't find the killer touch in the box to bring the ball down and finish.
In the end it was a point apiece but a really strong showing from Andoni Iraola's men.
AFC Bournemouth: Neto, Aarons, Zabarnyi, Kelly, Kerkez (Senesi 74), Cook, Christie, Philip, Ouattara (Kluivert 63), Solanke, Tavernier (Sinisterra 73).
Subs: Radu, Smith, Rothwell, Traorè, Brooks, Semenyo.
Chelsea: Sánchez, Disasi, Silva, Sterling, Fernández, Mudryk (Palmer 63), Jackson, Ugochukwu, Gallagher, Colwill, Gusto.
Subs: Petrović, Bergström, Chilwell, Maatsen, Washington, Gilchrist, Matos, Stutter.