The Blues came from behind to win an entertaining Tuesday evening pre-season encounter on the Dorset coast.
All the goals came in the second half. Having gone behind to a header from Emiliano Marcondes, Thomas Tuchel’s team responded quickly with goals by strikers Armando Broja and Ike Ugbo (pictured top), both second-half substitutions as many changes were made during the match, as is the norm at this time of year.
After two pre-season matches at training grounds – a 6-1 win against Peterborough, and a Chelsea vs Chelsea encounter that ended in a 1-1 draw – tonight there was a step-up in the preparations for 2021/22 when we faced the side that finished sixth in the Championship and are closer to the start of their season so further forward in their fitness programme.
It was a game also played in front of a healthy crowd inside Bournemouth’s stadium, including plenty of Chelsea fans in the visitors’ section. They were treated to a lively encounter played at a good pace.
It was Hakim Ziyech, starting the game in an attack centred on Tammy Abraham and also containing Christian Pulisic, who had the first shot for Chelsea – powerfully hit but curled wide of the far post.
There was a flurry of activity a quarter-of-an-hour in. Centre-back Malang Sarr, playing his first game in a Chelsea shirt in front of supporters, was the one to clear a free-kick with his head when Bournemouth had the chance to put the ball in the box and moments later, in open play, home-side striker Dominic Solanke was slipped through but was denied by a sliding block by another former Chelsea Academy graduate Lewis Baker, who has had a back-three role in this pre-season rather than the midfield position Blues fans are more familiar with seeing him in.
Blues flow forward
Kepa punched away the corner that followed and Chelsea were quickly on the attack, with Hudson-Odoi striking a shot at the Cherries keeper Mark Travers.
Twenty-five minutes into the game, Travers made a very good close-range reaction stop when Abraham met a Hudson-Odoi pass.
Chelsea, operating with wing-backs, were finding spaces to attack. Alonso picked out Ziyech for a blocked shot before Abraham, having moved well into the inside-right channel, was fed by Ziyech but had a firm, low shot saved. With the next attack, the big no.9 headed over when Ziyech overlapped a Hudson-Odoi run and centred.
The Blues had enjoyed the best of it, but the match was scoreless at half-time.
Thomas Tuchel made seven changes at the interval, including the whole of the rearguard, and soon after the start of the second half, Bournemouth should have taken the lead but after catching Conor Gallagher on the ball and racing towards the net now guarded by Edouard Mendy, David Brooks shot wide to the home supporters’ dismay.
Goals come rapidly
Mendy then pulled off a great close-range block to keep out Kyle Edwards before 10 minutes after the restart, Alonso worried Bournemouth with a shot that was deflected wide and substitute Matt Miazga headed at the Cherries keeper.
Further Chelsea changes came, leaving Gallagher as the only Blues starter still on the field.
Bournemouth’s goal was scored soon after, a cross from the right by Jack Stacey taking a deflection and sitting up nicely for Marcondes to head in.
It took five minutes for Chelsea to equalise. Baba Rahman did well to win the ball back from Bournemouth deep in their half and the Ghanaian then curled a low cross into the path of Broja who, just like in the previous pre-season game, was in the right place to find the net from a few yards out.
There was even less time needed to go from levelling to being in the lead, Ike Ugbo heading in at the near post from a Ross Barkley corner. That made it 2-1 to the Blues and it was a lead retained relatively comfortable to the end. A positive night with pre-season games against Arsenal and Tottenham next up.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa (Mendy h-t); Sterling (Miazga h-t), Baker (Chalobah h-t), Sarr (Clarke-Salter h-t); Hudson-Odoi (Zappacosta 63), Drinkwater (Loftus-Cheek h-t), Gallagher, Alonso (c) (Baba 63); Ziyech (Barkley h-t), Abraham (Ugbo 63), Pulisic (Broja h-t).
Unused sub Bergstrom
Scorers Broja 71, Ugbo 76
Booked Sterling 36
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Travers; Stacey (Camp h-t), Ibsen Rossi, Kelly (c) (Greenwood 82), Smith (Zemura 60); Marcondes (Glover 82), Kilkenny; Brooks (Saydee 71), Billing (Moriah-Welsh 82), Taylor (Edwards h-t); Solanke (Surridge 82).
Unused sub Dennis
Scorer Marcondes 66