By Gary Watton
April 8 2017
A brilliant second half free kick from Marcus Alonso helped to slam the door on Bournemouth's hopes of defying Chelsea in this visit to the south coast. Up to that point, the Premiership leaders had reverted to their safety first (not to mention nervous) strategy of merely trying to walk the ball into the net and jealously guarding their possession. The Cherries rarely threatened in the second half, but they had been a handful in the first 45 minutes.
Fortunately for the Premiership favourites, they accelerated into a two goal lead which afforded them a comfortable cushion. However, Joshua King then smashed home an excellent drive from the edge of the penalty area which made the Chelsea faithful shuffle nervously in their seats until Alonso's fabulous intervention.
Earlier the erratic Costa comically miscued a close range swipe into the net off the head of Smith. It must be a leading candidate for the most ridiculous goal of the season. This moment of high farce was quickly followed by a trademark Hazard goal of supreme quality. This champagne moment owed itself to a fine through ball from the busy Kante who unleashed the flying Belgian into space. Having beaten the offside trap, Hazard then proceeded to beat Boruc by dancing past the goalkeeper and squeezing his effort into an empty net, somewhat reminiscent of his goal at West Ham not that long ago.
The maximum points enabled the leaders to retain their gap of seven points over the flying and ominously relentless Tottenham Hotspur. Chelsea have a number of pitfalls ahead, notably visits to ManUre, Evercrap, and West Bromwich. I remain worried that the Premiership race could extend well into May, unless a cagey Chelsea start re-acquainting themselves with clean sheets. Otherwise the Blues may still stagger towards the chequered flag. The drama is by no means over.
Bournemouth 1 CHELSEA 3; half time: 1-2
CHELSEA goal scorers: Smith (Own Goal), Hazard, Alonso
CHELSEA team: Courtois; Azpilicueta; Luiz; Kante; Moses; Cahill; Alonso; Matic; Costa; Pedro; Hazard. Used substitutes: Fabregas, Willian, Zouma
CHELSEA leading scorers:
Costa eighteen goals
Hazard fourteen goals (including two penalties)
Pedro eleven goals
Willian seven goals
Fabregas six goals
Alonso five goals
Batshuayi five goals (including one penalty)
Cahill five goals
Moses four goals