Our next opponents Bournemouth are the only Premier League team we have never drawn with, partly because it is a fixture with a habit of throwing up plenty of late goals and drama. Here’s what to expect if history repeats itself at Stamford Bridge.
As relative newcomers to the Premier League who haven’t spent too much time in the same division as Chelsea, Bournemouth have only been our opponents on 15 previous occasions, with Brighton the only current top-flight side we have faced less.
However, not a single one of those 15 matches against the Cherries has ended in a draw and, just as impressively, nine of them have featured a goal scored in the last 10 minutes of the game by one, or even both, teams.
What is more, four of those late goals prevented a draw and proved decisive, with probably the most dramatic coming in the 2017/18 League Cup quarter-finals, a match that threw up the kind of beautiful carnage that can make knockout football so enjoyable, for one set of fans at least.
For most of the game it looked like it would be a fairly routine victory for Chelsea, after Willian had put us ahead in the first half. However, the rather mundane first 89 minutes gave no clue as to the chaos which was about to unfold at the Bridge. In the 90th minute the ball broke for Dan Gosling and the midfielder curled in past Willy Caballero. Then, just as the visitors were preparing themselves for an additional half-an-hour of action, Eden Hazard’s back-heel set up fellow substitute Alvaro Morata to grab an injury-time winner from close range.
The craziness didn’t end there either, as the traditional new father’s celebration of sticking the ball up his shirt and sucking his thumb bizarrely saw Morata booked as Bournemouth tried to retrieve it for kick off, leaving him suspended for our next match.
There was more than a little deja-vu a year later when we again hosted the Cherries in the League Cup quarter-finals, and again won it late on. Although, compared to the previous antics it seemed almost run of the mill when Hazard finished off a slick passing move with Pedro and Emerson to break the deadlock in 84th minute for a 1-0 win. The Belgian certainly seemed to enjoy playing against the South Coast side during his time with Chelsea, scoring against them seven times in total, three of them in the last five minutes of matches.
The late winner Blues fans will want to forget actually arrived in our first-ever Premier League fixture against Bournemouth, in December 2015, when Glenn Murray’s 82nd-minute header condemned us to a 1-0 defeat. That’s enough about that!
The closest things have come to a draw was in a Full Members Cup tie in November 1989, a little over a year after the first-ever competitive match between Chelsea and Bournemouth. This time the scores were actually level 2-2 after 90 minutes, for once, but we triumphed in extra time.
That game turned out to be the Alan Dickens show, as the Blues midfielder equalised for us twice, the second time in the 84th minute, before grabbing the winner 10 minutes from the end of extra time.
If you’ve never heard of this hat-trick hero, it is probably because that show turned out to be for one night only. Dickens did score again a couple of weeks later, in a defeat to Queens Park Rangers, but didn’t find the net at all after that until being sold to Colchester United four years later.
Although that particular piece of Chelsea and Bournemouth history feels almost as ancient as the competition it was played in, the more recent Premier League meetings show this fixture has lost none of it’s habit for late twists. When you add in the fact that the current Blues side haven’t drawn against any opponent in the league since August, you’d be mad to leave your seat if the scores are level in the final minutes this time.