Bournemouth 2-2 Chelsea: Marcos Alonso scores brace as Chelsea fight to secure point against relegation-threatened Bournemouth
- Marcos Alonso scored a brace as Chelsea drew 2-2 away to relegation-threatened Bournemouth
- Alonso put Chelsea ahead in the 33rd minute but Bournemouth equalised through Jefferson Lerma
- Josh King thought he had secured victory for Bournemouth but Alonso scored again as Chelsea got a point
- Bournemouth are now 17th in the table, two points above the relegation zone, while Chelsea remain in fourth
A rainbow spread over the Vitality Stadium in the second half and still Frank Lampard cannot help but plant his feet in pots of muck.
That seems to be Chelsea’s way at the moment, every second step a wobble or a fall. This was merely a wobble when it was so nearly a fall, but irrespective of the sheen from Marcos Alonso’s late equaliser, the result was a continuation of a long-standing problem.
They quite simply cannot find a workable stride pattern. Every time the jog looks like becoming a sprint in this weird season, they face plant, and for that reason it is almost four months since they last recorded back to back wins in the Premier League.
Marcos Alonso scored twice as Chelsea had to fight back to secure a point when they took on Bournemouth away
Alonso heads in Chelsea’s second goal as Frank Lampard’s side drew 2-2 in an entertaining contest against Bournemouth
Josh King celebrates with his Bournemouth team-mates after his goal put his team in the lead as they faced Chelsea
The Bournemouth players celebrate with King after his goal saw Bournemouth take a surprise lead at home to Chelsea
King slotted home in the 57th minute after his team-mate Callum Wilson was unable to get on the end of Jack Stacey’s cross
That they are still well placed in the battle for the top four is testament to their start to this campaign and the fallibility of their rivals, but you suspect they are on borrowed time unless something changes.
Credit, though, for the recovery. They were in horrible difficulty here, having conceded goals to Jefferson Lerma and Joshua King within three minutes of each other early in the second half after Alonso had put them ahead in the first.
It was 2-1 Bournemouth when the storms came to the south coast and a familiar tale was playing out – for whatever reason, Eddie Howe is the stone that Chelsea cannot quite remove from their shoe, and three Bournemouth wins in the past four runs of this fixture was on the cusp of becoming four in five.
But Bournemouth have their own problems, not least sticking it out in tough matches. They stood up to the pressure for a while and for a concerted period that meant Chelsea’s deepest defender being around 60 yards from his own goal. Against that backdrop, Alonso got his third goal in two games to go with a red card in midweek against Bayern Munich – a one-man mirror of his clubs fluctuations.
Jefferson Lerma celebrates after his goal saw Bournemouth pull level in their clash at home to Chelsea on Saturday
Lerma scored Bournemouth’s equaliser in the 54th minute as he headed in following a cross from team-mate Ryan Fraser
Alonso celebrates after opening the scoring for Chelsea in their Premier League clash away to Bournemouth
The point is important for Bournemouth – in the past five games they have shown signs of revival, even if they do only have two wins in 11 since they last beat Chelsea in December. For Lampard, they are at two wins in eight in all competitions. They need to step up the pace again.
In this one, he stuck with the back-three structure that was ripped apart so mercilessly by Bayern Munich, but made two changes to the personnel. Pedro and Fikayo Tomori came in and Ross Barkley and Antonio Rudiger stepped out, but the most notable selection, again, was the inclusion of Willy Caballero over Kepa for a fifth straight game.
Whatever shortcomings may exist in the developing arsenal of Lampard’s management, it cannot be said that he is afraid of a ballsy call.
Vindication came early. Very early, in fact, with Caballero’s save from Philip Billing inside three minutes. The midfielder had moved untracked into the area and met Jack Stacey’s low cross with a flush connection, but the placement was a little too favourable for Caballero. At 38, the old boy passed the reflex test.
The jubilant Chelsea players congratulate Alonso following his goal, which was scored in the 33rd minute of the game
Alonso’s goal was his second in successive Premier League games as it followed on from his strike against Tottenham
The defender fired the ball into the back of the net to put Chelsea in the ascendancy as they took on Bournemouth away
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta competes for possession with Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson during the first half
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Bournemouth (4-3-3): Ramsdale 7; Stacey 7.5, S Cook 7, Ake 7.5, A Smith 6.5; Billing 7, Lerma 7.5, L Cook 6.5 (Gosling 80); Fraser 6, C Wilson 6.5, King 7 (Stanislas 67, 6)
Subs not used: Boruc, Francis, Solanke, Rico, H Wilson
Manager: Eddie Howe 7
Chelsea (3-4-1-2): Caballero 7; Azpilicueta 6, Christensen 6, Tomori 5 (Willian 64, 7); James 7, Jorginho 6 (Barkley 64, 6), Kovacic 6.5, Alonso 8; Mount 6.5, Pedro 6.5; Giroud 6 (Batshuayi 72, 6)
Subs not used: Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Loftus-Cheek, Gilmour
Booked: Jorginho, Christensen
Manager: Frank Lampard 6.5
Referee: Andre Marriner 5.5
Season at a glance
Philip Billing controls the ball for Bournemouth under pressure from Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori at the Vitality Stadium
Billing had a second opportunity two minutes later after getting a toe on the ball as Tomori dithered in possession. That sent him through one-on-one, albeit from a narrowed angle right of goal, and he put his shot a fraction the wrong side of the near post.
On such let-offs, games can turn. And this one did – twice. In the case of the first goal, Chelsea had stabilised without creating much until the 33rd minute when Reece James exchanged passes with Jorginho and crossed waist-high from the right. Olivier Giroud contorted in flight and nudged a shot against the underside of the bar and, with Aaron Ramsdale grounded, Alonso smashed in the rebound.
By the close of the half, Chelsea had accounted for 70 per cent of the possession and yet were only mildly convincing with it.
Giroud opened the second period with a scuffed shot off an Alonso cross, and soon after came the next twist, with Bournemouth level through Lerma from a set-piece. Mateo Kovacic felt with some justification that he was shoved by the midfielder in their tussle to meet Ryan Fraser’s corner, but there was no whistle, no VAR, no respite.
King’s strike a moment later drew a longer pause to assess if he was offside at the point of Stacey’s ball across the box and the anxiety was understandable – the two VAR calls that went against them at Burnley last time out stung. That this was cleared in their favour for 2-1.
Lampard responded with three aggressive substitutions and the retaliation was strong. Michy Batshuayi had a goal correctly disallowed for offside and Barkley had a shot headed off course by Nathan Ake before Pedro pulled another marginally wide.
Bournemouth spent the better part of 15 minutes straight defending their line and eventually the pressure counted for something when Ramsdale’s excellent save from a Pedro drive fell to the head of Alonso. Ramsdale got a hand to the header but not enough for the save and not enough for the win.
Wilson attempts to make an impact for Bournemouth as Tomori and Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero try to thwart him
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud shows his frustration after he missed the chance to put Chelsea 2-0 ahead versus Bournemouth
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