Chelsea’s blitz on the Premier League does not look like abating as they overcame a talented Bournemouth 3-0 at Stamford Bridge this afternoon to open up a nine-point lead on the chasers while at the same time creating a club record.
Two goals from Pedro and a penalty from Eden Hazard ensured a 12th successive league win – the most in the club’s history.
The visitors can claim to be unfortunate to also find Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in such fine form, but the home side deserved the three points having dominated the match from start to finish.
It was a high-tempo start from both sides, with neither creating much in the way of chances – with the midfield seeing all the play.
Antonio Conte opted to replace suspended Diego Costa upfront by rotating one of Willian, Eden Hazard and Pedro.
Cesc Fabregas came in for fellow suspended N’Golo Kante.
Whereas Chelsea attempted intricate high-risk one-twos in and around the Bournemouth penalty area, often to no avail, the visitors were happy to hum- the ball up to Joshua King, upfront in order to relief pressure.
Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere was first into Michael Jones’s book for a foul on Hazard on 14 minutes.
A quick breakaway on 22 minutes saw Pedro race clear. He cut in side and let fly with a low drive, but it fails to get anywhere close to Artur Boruc’s goal.
It was the Spain winger’s fourth league goal of the season.
Th pressure that was was building on the Bournemouth goal told on 24 minutes when Pedro picked up the ball on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area. One touch with his left boot was enough to garner some extra space and his next touch was a deft shot with clipped over the prone Boruc who had no chance to get near the effort.
Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois was forced into making a smart save of his own two minutes later, thwarting Wilshere’s goal-bound close-range shot.
Wilshere was denied again on 30 minutes when his volley from a Nemanja Matic head out ricocheted off the shin of David Luiz with Courtois well beaten.
Within four minutes of the restart, the Blues got a penalty when Eden Hazard was hauled down by Simon Francis – he stepped up and coolly dispatched the spot kick himself, sending Boruc the wrong way in the process. It was Hazard’s ninth Premier League goal of the season – his 50th Premier League goal in his career.
Victor Moses had a clear chance to kill the game off, on 58 minutes, but his half-volley, from the edge of the Cherries penalty area, inched wide of Boruc’s right post.
Pedro received a yellow card for a needless foul on Andrew Surman – his fifth of the season and this misses the New Year’s Eve encounter at the Bridge against Stoke City.
The visitors had a great chance to get a goal back with 18 minutes on the clock but Courtois was on hand to get his body in the way of substitute Benin Afobe.
With the last kick of the game, another counter-attack by the Blues saw Pedro race clear. His deflected low drive at the edge of the Cherries penalty area was defected by Francis and trickled into the back off the net to make it 3-0.
Chelsea’s consummate professionalism saw the clock down effectively and they now look to improve on their sensational season so far by talking on Stoke City on December 31.