Jose Mourinho still can’t coax the best out of his squad of champions, Cesc Fabregas’s struggles are a growing concern and other things we learned from Chelsea 0 Bournemouth 1.
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Mourinho position becomes a talking point again
A three-match unbeaten run since the international break had temporarily eased the pressure on Mourinho. But the Portugese’s future will be back on the agenda after lowly Bournemouth became the eighth team to defeat Chelsea in the 15 Premier League matches they have played this season. That is an emphatic statistic and one that will make a certain Russian owner somewhat twitchy. Chelsea were not terrible today but they were ripped apart by the visitors in the early exchanges and offered little in the way of genuine cutting edge, especially after they went a goal behind. Mourinho has tried everything to raise his team out of the doldrums. None of it is working.
No end in sight to Fabregas malaise
Of all the Chelsea players who have been so exasperatingly below-par this season, none have bewildered more than Fabregas. In truth, the darling of the early months of 2014-15 has been in the doldrums for much of 2015. His performance for Spain against England last month hinted at a revival but the pace of the Premier League appears too much for the midfielder. He gave the ball away 10 times in the first half against Tottenham last Sunday and was equally wasteful against Bournemouth. There is no light at the end of a mighty long tunnel.
Costa makes presence felt
Demoted to the bench for a second consecutive match, the controversial striker was summoned from his place behind Jose Mourinho in the dugout at half-time and was instrumental in a sustained spell of pressure from the home team. Despite the physicality, penalty box presence and usual histrionics that he brought to the game, Diego Costa offered little in the way of genuine cutting edge. He must do more to convince Mourinho that he should start the Porto match next Wednesday as the team’s spearhead.
Bournemouth make history
Chelsea were unbeaten in 43 Premier League home matches against newly-promoted sides before this defeat. Yet another proud statistic has been relinquished by a club who have been so dominant at home during the Roman Abramovich era. Eddie Howe’s well-drilled team were good value for their win. They ripped the home side apart in the opening 20 minutes, when only Thibaut Courtois’ reflexes prevented an early goal, and were resilient in the second half when Chelsea dominated.
Courtois is Chelsea’s goalkeeping Special One
Jose Mourinho called Thibaut Courtois the best keeper in the world on Friday and argued that observers have been forgetting the club have missed an integral player for three months. After a 19-match absence with a knee injury, the giant Belgian instantly justified the decision to recall him at the expense of Asmir Begovic, who had done little wrong in the interim period. Courtois showed no signs of rustiness as handling and reflexes were sharp, most notably when he denied the visitors three times in the early exchanges with excellent saves.