A late Marcos Alonso goal, his second of the game, saved Chelsea from back-to-back defeats and prevented Bournemouth recording their first ever league double over us.
The Spaniard, with a powerful volley, had given the Blues a lead we took into half-time. After a poor start, our performance had steadily improved as the game progressed but as in the Champions League in midweek, we conceded two goals in quick succession in the second half and it looked as if we would not recover from going behind despite plenty of pressure.
Bournemouth were sitting back in an attempt to preserve their lead but with five minutes remaining of the 90 they buckled. Pedro’s initial shot was saved but Alonso was in the right spot to head an equaliser and, following on from his winner against Spurs in our last league game, he could even have scored a hat-trick but headed wide inside stoppage time.
On a chilly South Coast Saturday afternoon, Bournemouth were the better side early on and had chances to take the lead, but Alonso’s opening goal was the fruit from a period when Frank Lampard’s side were on top midway through the first half, and came after Olivier Giroud had hit the bar.
Our French centre-forward then missed a good chance to double the lead early in the second half before Jefferson Lerma and Josh King turned the score around. The Londoners, having gone 2-1 behind, poured forward late in the game as the Cherries packed their area and the equaliser (pictured above) came shortly after substitute Michy Batshuayi had been denied by a good save.
Bournemouth start strongly
Willy Caballero was called upon to be sharp inside the first five minutes when he saved with his leg from Philip Billing after the home side worked a cross from the right.
The same Cherries player should have scored moments later when Fikayo Tomori allowed him in behind but the lanky midfielder lashed the ball into the side-netting.
There was more defending for Chelsea to do deep in our penalty area before we gained a foothold in the game with a prolonged period of possession. It was during that spell when Jorginho picked up his 10th booking of this Premier League campaign and with it, a two-match ban from the competition to go with the one-game one he will serve in the Champions League.
As the half-hour approached, Pedro and Alonso were making their presence felt on the left side of the attacking third and it was from the wing-back’s aerial challenge that Mason Mount stabbed a ball at goal. Aaron Ramsdale saved what was our second shot on target.
Alonso scores for second Saturday running
The Bournemouth goalkeeper could do nothing a couple of minutes later when Alonso smashed home the opening goal from inside the six-yard area. The ball had cannoned the Spaniard’s way when Olivier Giroud got his boot to a Reece James cross, Bournemouth having been guilty of allowing James and Jorginho too much space in the build-up. There were 33 minutes played when we went 1-0 up.
Before half-time, James forced Ramsdale into a diving save with a hopeful shot from distance.
It had been a patchy performance in the first half from the Blues, playing in white today, as we had given the ball away too cheaply on occasions, but given our slow start to the game and the early chances for our opponents, we could be pleased to go in 1-0 up at the break.
Second-half switch around
It could have been 2-0 soon after the restart but Giroud scuffed an Alonso cross wide. James skied an attempt from further out but Chelsea were passing the ball better in the early stages of the second half.
We were undone however by a set-piece. There were plenty of Chelsea players close to Jefferson Lerma but they could not prevent his header from a corner that was too powerful for Caballero to keep out.
That came on 54 minutes and just three minutes later Bournemouth were ahead with a swift move. Billing passed out to Stacey whose low cross was turned in at the far post by Josh King.
With Chelsea showing little sign initially of turning the game around having gone behind, Lampard made a double substitution with Willian on for Tomori and Ross Barkley on for Jorginho. The defence changed to a back-four.
Freezing rain began to hammer down as Giroud headed a James cross wide and another substitute, Michy Batshuayi, found the net from an offside position with 20 minutes to go.
Bournemouth were now playing with everyone back but they were nearly undone when a Barkley shot deflected just wide.
There was plenty of Chelsea pressure in the final 10 minutes with Ramsdale saving from close range from Batshuayi and Azpilicueta shooting wide.
Batshuayi accidently blocked an Alonso shot before, with five minutes left to play, we scored the equaliser.
Ramsdale again saved well, this time from a Pedro shot, but despite him getting a hand to Alonso’s follow-up header, it was Bournemouth 2 Chelsea 2.
In the final minutes, the opportunities for a winner were all Chelsea’s, with Barkley slicing an effort wide before Alonso saw his hat-trick hopes and the chance for all three points disappear when his header from a James cross dropped the wrong side of the post.
Frank Lampard resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes to the side following the comprehensive Champions League defeat midweek, but he did recall Fikayo Tomori and Pedro with Toni Rudiger and Ross Barkley making way. Tomori played his first game since the FA Cup match at Hull a month ago. Before the game the boss reported the two coming in earned their chance by the way they trained.
The focus switches to domestic cup action with Liverpool the visitors to Stamford Bridge for an FA Cup fifth round tie on Tuesday. This stage of the competition is moved to midweek this season as part of the rearrangements necessarily to allow the recent winter break in the Premier League schedule. The next Premier League game is Everton at home.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Caballero; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Tomori (Willian 64); James, Jorginho (Barkley 64), Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Pedro; Giroud (Batshuayi 71).
Unused subs Kepa, Rudiger, Gilmour, Loftus-Cheek.
Scorer Alonso 33, 85
Booked Jorginho 16, Christensen 71
Bournemouth (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Stacey, S Cook (c), Ake, Smith; L Cook (Gosling 80), Lerma, Billing; Fraser, C Wilson, King (Stanislas 68).
Unused subs Boruc, Rico, Francis, Wilson, Solanke.
Scorers Lerma 54, King 57
Booked Smith 59, C Wilson 88
Referee Andre Marriner