Chelsea left frustrated as stubborn Bournemouth stand firm

No way through for blunt Blues in Premier League stalemate

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Chelsea's now all too familiar frailty in front of goal came back to haunt them once again as they drew a blank in a 0-0 stalemate against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.

The Blues enjoyed the better of the first half but couldn't turn their dominance into clear chances and the opportunities they did create were frittered away.

The game was more even after the break but a combination of poor finishing and strong goalkeeping prevented a breakthrough at either end.

Chelsea's inability to find the crucial opener emboldened the hosts and the west London side were grateful to goalkeeper Robert Sanchez for keeping Bournemouth out.

The result was the first 0-0 recorded anywhere in the Premier League so far this season and left Chelsea down in 14th place having taken five points from five games with five scored and same number conceded.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino said: "I cannot say that I am happy but it was a very competitive game. I think we deserved more, we deserved to win. We created good chances and in the first half after 20, 30 minutes I think we created many chances and didn't score.

"I think we need to be tough. We need to prove our efficiency in front of goal. We need to be calm also but these circumstances are not always easy for the players. We cannot blame anyone.

"In the last 10 minutes our full-backs and some defensive players wanted to do the jobs of the offensive players. Sometimes we couldn't risk the point. I prefer that to being relaxed and calm. They care a lot about the game and situation. The effort was really good."

Chelsea's continued and sustained spending, allied with the arrival of coach Pochettino, had many tipping them for an upwardly mobile campaign after what had ended up being a humiliating 2022-23 season.

The early signs have not been good however with both results and performances erratic. A deeply worrying home defeat to Nottingham Forest before the international break meant they arrived at Bournemouth in desperate need of a fortifying victory.

The hosts, too, began the game in need of reassurance. The Cherries dispensed with Gary O'Neil in the summer and changed direction with the appointment of Spanish coach Andoni Iraola who had managed two draws and two defeats from his opening four games.

In the early going, at least, it looked like Chelsea would be the side to find a tonic with Raheem Sterling and then Nicolas Jackson going close. Sterling lashed a shot across the face of goal after some smart work from Conor Gallagher, before Jackson's scuffed effort struck the foot of the post.

Having struggled to create much in the opening half hour, the hosts suddenly fashioned perhaps the best chance of the half as Dango Ouattara looked to convert a low cross only for goalkeeper Sanchez to rush out and smother.

That was the exception and not the rule though, and Chelsea's dominance immediately resumed. The next big chance fell the way of Gallagher who jinked inside the box and hit the target with a firm strike which brought the best out of Neto in the Cherries goal.

With Chelsea's familiar goalscoring problems apparent, it seemed something special might be required and Sterling almost provided it as his stunning free-kick cannoned off the underside of the bar. The offside Levi Colwill tucked away the rebound but the game remained scoreless heading towards the hour mark.

The Blues brought on Cole Palmer to try and craft the clear-cut opening they craved but it was the hosts who next went close, this time Dominic Solanke wriggling free in the box and bringing another great save out of Sanchez.

Neither side could find a winner in the closing stages in a game that will have given Pochettino more questions than answers.

Updated: September 17, 2023, 3:45 PM