AFC Bournemouth 1-4 Chelsea: Hazard scores a brace as the Blues thrash hosts

The Cherries were not able to hold out at home against the west London visitors, who soundly thrashed the home side by a three-goal margin.

AFC Bournemouth 1-4 Chelsea: Hazard scores a brace as the Blues thrash hosts
Cesc Fabregas assisted three of Chelsea four goals against Bournemouth, including Eden Hazard's first goal in 29 league games.
AFC Bournemouth
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Chelsea

Eden Hazard finally made his way onto the scoresheet on Saturday evening as Chelsea added another defeat to Bournemouth's streak. 

The Blues, coming off of a 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City last week, were by no means dominant for the duration of the match, but persistence and patches of cohesion and skill were enough to soundly thrash the Cherries.

First 45 filled with chances and goals too

The scoring began in the first five minutes to much surprise with a goal from Pedro Rodriguez. Cesc Fábregas linked up with his fellow Spaniard, who dinked it in behind Artur Boruc to give the Blues an early lead. The goal gave the visitors a bit of confidence early on to keep the ball in Bournemouth's half. The Cherries had a chance in the 20th minute to level the score when Asmir Begovic could not manage to get his hands around the ball and punched it towards Steve Cook, who skied it directly in-front of goal. At the other end of the pitch, Chelsea had a chance to make it two-nil with a free kick in a dangerous location, but Branislav Ivanovic fired it directly into the wall.

From there, the Cherries began again to seem the more cohesive side, managing to maintain possession and have some dangerous opportunities to equalise. Bournemouth were close to evening out the score when Junior Stanislas sent a beautiful cross soaring across the box, which was headed just wide of the top corner.

Their rhythm was broken when in the 34th minute Hazard finally ended his drought of 356 goalless days with a goal from a Fábregas flick-on, who earned yet another assist. However, at the other end of the pitch barely a minute later, Begovic just barely managed to palm a shot over the net to concede a corner. Then, just two minutes after Hazard doubled the score, Tommy Elphick headed goalwards from a corner-kick, halving the deficit in the process.

Bournemouth had another go with Stanislas firing just over the net from the top of the box. At the other end of the pitch, Pedro did the same and skims the net from ten yards out, a goal he surely should have scored.

John Obi Mikel, a favourite under the new Guus Hiddink regime, made a risky tackle on Lewis Grabban next to the goal, but appeals for a penalty-kick were waved away by the referee, with the score staying 2-1 into the interval.

Second-half

Both sides took their time warming up to the second half, but Abdul Baba Rahman eventually got involved in the 51st minute with a low cross to Diego Costa that could have been Chelsea's third, had the ball not been just a little too far ahead of the sliding Spaniard.

Chelsea established themselves as the slightly stronger side of the second-half after that attempt, pressing towards goal with two more attempts from Fábregas and Pedro which both came of nothing. However, the Cherries' defence did well during the following few minutes to deal with the pressure.

Stanislas had yet another chance to score, but his shot just missed the target. Hazard then has his own chance, but held onto the ball too long. Willian received the ball from Fabregas and puts it in the back of the net with conviction to decide the direction of the game. Whereas in the first-half, Bournemouth responded quickly to Chelsea's second goal, now they struggled to provide much of an effective response.

Willian, who looked to perhaps be injured slightly, hobbled off the pitch in the 84th minute to be replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Minutes later, the first and only card of the match was brandished to winger Matt Ritchie for an overzealous tackle on Fabregas. Then, in stoppage time, Hazard drives one more goal home off a volley, this time provided by Nemanja Matic. The game ends on a high note for the Blues.

Result

The game ended sadly for the Cherries as their third loss in a row, but positively for the reigning champions, who will move up to ninth in the Premier League table. Neither side had much to play for this match; however, any points that Chelsea can earn in their next five games will provide some consolation for the sorry way their season has shaped out to be. As for Bournemouth, if they are not relegated after their first top-flight campaign, which is not unlikely, then their season will have been a success.