Sunday, 24 April 2016

Chelsea give AFCB a finishing lesson 1-4

Match Report
23 April 2016
AFCB 1 v 4 Chelsea 
Attendance: 11,365
The Cherries line up.
AFCB wanted to give something back to their fans in this game and even though they were well beaten there was much to consider about the Cherries attempt to battle Chelsea. An early goal from Pedro was against the run of play, but it demonstrated the need to finish when in front of goal and Chelsea's second was even more beautifully worked with Fabregas and Hazard unravelled AFCB's defence. Yet, the Cherries were far from overrun and created there own chances with Tommy Elphick getting his first goal of the season and Lewis Grabban had a great chance to draw the teams level just before half time, but Bogovic made a crucial save. At 1-2 down at half time there was no panic and for the most part the Cherries were controlled in their efforts to get back on level terms, but a hastily taken free kick on half way for the Cherries ended up with Willian making the game safe. An extra time goal from Eden Hazard made it a heavy defeat and yet there was more to admire about AFCB's play than the losses to Spurs, Man City or Liverpool.
Elphick and Ivanovic.

Akis gives his pre-match views on Chelsea.

There were major changes to the team with Grabban given a start  and Pugh came in on the left wing. On the bench there were places for Rhoys Wiggins and Benik Afobe while Matt Ritchie was also a sub and Max Gradel was left out of the squad having had a knock in training.
The Cherries get ready for the off.
Chelsea played in white with a blue trim.
There are more pictures on the Match Day Gallery.

The Cherries went at Chelsea right from the start. King tried his forceful run up the right to test Chelsea out and Begovic was fining touch the best option to keep the Cherries at bay. Gosling and Stanislas were central to most of the early play, while Francis put in an early cross but it found no one. Still the pressure was coming from AFCB up until a cross from Daniels was cleared.

Through the middle came Chelsea, Fabregas was quick of thought and slipped in Pedro from his right and Boruc was beaten in a flash. It was 0-1 to the visitors on five minutes.

We'd been hear before but how would AFCB react? The signs were that it could be another difficult afternoon as Chelsea were growing in confidence, Willian and Ivanovic were finding freedom down AFCB's left flank. Hazard was also coming more into the game and Costa was getting some touches now, so much so that Stanislas fouled him.

Play was fast and neither side was keeping the ball for long, but Stanislas won a corner on 17 minutes and AFCB saw this as a chance with the ball being left for King who came round to the penalty spot before shooting high over the bar. A second corner followed two minutes later and this one fell to Steve Cook after Begovic spilled the cross, but he volleyed over from close range!

While Chelsea also won their corner the next best chance fell to Pugh in their box after Daniels had put a cross in from the left but it was just a little high and the header was comfortable for Begovic with Pugh leaning backwards.

Tommy Elphick then put in a crunching tackle on Costa and was adjudged to have fouled him which the home crowd were none to pleased with.  Ivanovic could only hit the wall though with the free kick. Pugh then shot over from a pass from Dan Gosling. Still this was a good recovery from the Cherries.

Baba Rahman hit his cross so poorly it swung high into the north stand.

Meanwhile, AFCB were getting closer with Grabban almost nipping in at the near post but Boruc saved low down for a corner. While Fabregas was unmistakable with his yellow right boot and pink left boot he was also finding pockets and stretching and probing AFCB's defence.

Stanislas was next to make a cross that Grabban could only get a bit of a glancing head to and not enough to get it on target.

The came Chelsea's build up for their second. Willian combined with Fabregas just on the edge of the box. A classy back heel from Fabrgas unlocked the door. Hazard was in and he finished tidily 0-2.

If Chelsea thought the hard work was done though they were in for a fright. Pugh put in a deep cross that had Begovic having to palm it over with the Cherries strikers closing on him. The corner came on 36 minutes and it was met firmly by Tommy Elphick who headed past Begovic into the left side of the goal - 1-2.

That certainly got the AFCB players thinking that they could get more goals and Pugh put in a good pass for Grabban to see him in against Begovic but the keeper made a good save. There was plenty of aggression and fight now with King getting the better of Hazard.  While Fabregas shot over from distance the Cherries were closing down quicker now.

With a minute before half time, Stanislas struck a well hit shot towards the top right corner of Chelsea's goal but it just slipped over. Chelsea too had a chance with Pedro cutting inside from the right but he managed to shoot wide. A cross from Francis in added on time saw Grabban make an attempt to get a touch on and turn in, but it was just too quick from him. So it was 1-2 at half time.
1-2 down at half time.
Second half - AFCB have the kick off.
Second half
Pugh had to do some clever defensive work at the start of the second half escaping from AFCB's own left corner by beating a couple of players. "That was worth the entrance fee alone," said Damien Hill sitting next to me.

The second half was a bit slower in tempo, but Chelsea were not relaxing too much with Willian shooting over fairly early on. Chelsea kept pressing with Fabregas shooting wide and yet gaining a corner. When AFCB did win a free kick and wanted to take it quickly it had to be taken again.

Simon Francis slipped and looked injured but he got up again as Chelsea won a corner that Daniels blocked well afterwards when a shot came in. Chelsea were on top though and were much more in charge of the ball.

That led Eddie Howe to make a double substitution on 62 minutes with Wilson replacing King and Afobe coming on for Grabban. Wilson immediately got in the ref's face over a throw that had been given to the away team, wrongly he felt. The changes added a bit of energy to the team and Mikel was pleased to see the ball run out for a corner when he intercepted a cross from Francis with Afobe closing in behind.

Stanislas was next to shoot just wide on 65 minutes. The momentum might have been starting to shift but Chelsea were good at slowing the game down when they had to. More than that a golden opportunity came their way when a quickly taken AFCB free kick went wrong on half way and Chelsea broke. This time it was Ivanovic who moved the ball quickly to Costa and then Fabregas made the killer pass to Willian who punished the Cherries with great finishing to make it 1-3 after 71 minutes.

There were signs that the game was virtually done even though Elphick took a quick look at the clock and then roused the team again. Wilson came short for a ball from Daniels only for Daniels to play it long and you could see the frustration starting to grow in the forward's facial expression.

Francis was still making crosses that Begovic half spilled but clung on to. Ritchie came on for Stanislas with 13 minutes remaining. That led to some short corners but they weren't coming off for AFCB.

Chelsea also brought on Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Willian with seven minutes to go. While AFCB threatened with corners it was Chelsea that would underline their superiority by Matic causing havoc on the left and seeing Hazard free to finish off the move and make it 1-4 which was a bit harsh on the Cherries.
A home defeat for the Cherries.
Afobe with Loftus-Cheek.
You can't complain too much when the side you play has players that can drag players everywhere and finish with such precision as Chelsea did on this day. Fabregas was a just untouchable for most of the game and I imagine Gosling and Surman will have been totally exhausted having chased him around the park for 90 minutes. While I wonder if Boruc might have got down quicker to the second goal it was well created and it was the third goal that really finished the game and was of the Cherries own making. Eddie will not have liked the first goal either as AFCB left themselves too exposed to the break, but these are things that the team is learning. The lads put the effort in for this game but were just outclassed and Chelsea had plenty of experience to ensure that they would not succumb to any late pressure.

A good day for Chelsea.
Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Stanislas (Ritchie 77), Surman, Gosling, Pugh
Grabban (Afobe 61), King (Wilson 61)

Federici, Wiggins, MacDonald, O'Kane, Ritchie, Afobe, Wilson

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, Francis 7, Elphick 6, Cook 6, Daniels 6, Stanislas 5, Surman 6, Gosling 5, Pugh 6
Grabban 6, King 6

Begovic, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Ivanovic, Baba, Matic, FΓ bregas, Pedro, Willian (Loftus-Cheek),
Hazard, Diego Costa

Chelsea Subs
Amelia, Traore, Kenedy, Miazga, Loftus-Cheek, Falcao, Pato

Referee Watch: Roger East 7/10 - I liked the way he acknowledged the home crowd's annoyance at the time wasting and while I am not sure all the fouls on Chelsea players were really fouls it was a good game and that is in part down to him.

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