Gonzalo Higuain endured a Premier League debut to forget as Chelsea were humiliated 4-0 by Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday. Josh King struck twice and David Brooks punished one horrendous David Luiz error before Charlie Daniels ‘ late header added another layer of humiliation.
Believe it or not, Chelsea actually started this match quite well, moving the ball with speed and purpose and stretching Bournemouth at times. That will be forgotten, though, and given what transpired in the second half, rightly so.
Maurizio Sarri’s system crumbled in the face of a disciplined opposition game plan again, and his lack of tactical variation once Chelsea find themselves behind is a real problem — not to mention his relationship with supporters that is worsening with every performance like this. Also, leaving a fit Callum Hudson-Odoi out of the match-day squad entirely is not the way to convince him to stay.
Manager rating out of 10
2 — There was nothing wrong with the team Sarri picked or the way he set his team up, but has there ever been a successful coach so blindly wedded to one single formation? There is never a sense that Chelsea can recover in matches that begin to go against them, and teams without that rarely finish in the top four.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga , 6 — Made some good saves to deny Bournemouth’s best counterattacks in the first half and was left brutally exposed by his defence for all four of the home side’s goals. Continues to keep his head in difficult situations, but it doesn’t matter when everyone around him is losing theirs.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta , 6 — Continued his recent trend of contributing more in attack with some inviting crosses, and was Chelsea’s least awful defender on a torrid night. Given time, Sarri will hope he can strike up the kind of understanding he enjoyed with Morata with Higuain.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 4 — Didn’t have the signature howler that this performance will be remembered for but was every bit as culpable as Luiz for Chelsea’s defensive disintegration in the second half. Each of Bournemouth’s goals were virtual tap-ins, in central positions and under no pressure.
DF David Luiz, 3 — Took a big blow to the head from one King shot early on, and the kind interpretation is it had a delayed effect. Didn’t get close enough to King for either of his goals and presented the ball to Brooks for Bournemouth’s decisive second. In the position he plays, such mistakes are fatal.
DF Emerson Palmieri , 5 — Certainly more energetic than Marcos Alonso on the left, but this performance raised questions about his positional awareness — particularly once Chelsea began to crumble around him in the second half. He also didn’t get into crossing positions with the same regularity as Azpilicueta.
MF N’Golo Kante , 6 — Continues to be Chelsea’s most reliable and intelligent midfielder at attacking the penalty area, so it’s a shame he’s far from ideally suited to make the most of the opportunities that come his way. One loose touch squandered a golden chance with Bournemouth only 1-0 up.
MF Jorginho, 4 — A performance to delight his critics. He generally functions only as well as Chelsea’s system does, and from the moment Bournemouth went ahead, he had nothing more to offer than backward and sideways passes that only played into the home team’s game plan.
MF Mateo Kovacic , 5 — Started well, forcing a brilliant tip from Artur Boruc onto the crossbar with a header after making the kind of enterprising run into the box that rarely seems to occur to him. All the more baffling, then, that he never even tried to make it again, instead leaving Higuain to be smothered in the box.
David Luiz was the worst of a bad bunch, as his error for Bournemouth’s second goal capped a frustrating night. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
FW Pedro, 6 — Put in a good early cross for Kovacic’s header and looked dangerous when Chelsea managed to work the ball forward quickly, which was all too rare. Also found Kante with one brilliant clipped pass, but could not test Boruc himself. Replaced by Willian on the hour mark.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 5 — Understandably played like a man adjusting to new surroundings, and his teammates did nothing to help him. Runs went ignored, passes into him went astray and he was smothered by defenders at every cross, with no midfield runners to divide their attentions. A nonfactor.
FW Eden Hazard , 5 — Plays where he wants under Sarri these days, though you have to wonder whether his positional freestyling sometimes hurts his team more than it helps. Bournemouth built a wall in front of him that he was unable to find a way through.
FW Willian, 5 — His most notable contributions after replacing Pedro were to hit the first man with a succession of disappointing corner kicks. There was no hint of the magic that took Sheffield Wednesday apart on Sunday. Perhaps this might have been a night more suited to Hudson-Odoi?
FW Olivier Giroud , 6 — Prompted chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” toward Sarri when he came on for Higuain, presumably because it was yet another like-for-like substitution when chasing a game. Missed one half-chance.
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek , N/R — Showed a bit of urgency and attacking ambition from midfield when he replaced Kovacic, but by then Chelsea’s cause was lost.
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