Thursday, 21 December 2017

From Carabao ecstasy to agony in a few seconds for AFCB

Match Report
Chelsea 2 v 1 AFCB
20 December 2017
Chelsea welcome Bournemouth fans with a massive flag.
Bournemouth travelled to Chelsea perhaps more in hope than expectation having been thumped in their last game. They gave it their all though and should have forced Chelsea into extra time, but a mad last minute killed the Cherries' hopes when Dan Gosling had first sent Bournemouth fans crazy, having struck a great equaliser to cancel out Willian's early goal, only for Chelsea to run straight through Steve Cook and Simon Francis before Alvaro Morata slotted passed Boruc to send Chelsea through to the semi-finals.

AFCB go through their routines.
Chelsea rest a few star players.
There was no way Eddie Howe would pick the same side that lost to Liverpool. He needed something different and he did let youth have a chance with Jack Simpson and Lys Mousset making starts, while Aké was kept on the bench with Hyndman, Lewis Cook and Jordan Ibe as well as fit again Callum Wilson. Bournemouth lined up 3-5-1-1 although it was more like 5-3-2 in the first 20 minutes.
The first few minutes of the game were overshadowed by Ampadu's yellow card foul on Jermain Defoe. Defoe bravely plated on for 16 minutes but his right ankle wasn't right and he had to come off and be replaced by Jordan Ibe.

Bournemouth could have started better had Dan Gosling not sliced an early effort after four minutes. But Chelsea soon got their passing going and Willian was instigating much of the forward play. After 13 minutes the breakthrough came. It was an excellent move with Batshuayi making a sharp turn just over half way and releasing Kenedy who gave a slick back heel to open Bournemouth up, setting Fabregas away on the left. Fabregas merely had to square the ball to Willian and it was 1-0.

Bournemouth were finding it hard to get much possession and when they did and Adam Smith got a cross in for Mousset, the Frenchman could only head at the keeper. 

Arter then robbed Willian and when no foul was given, Ibe simply ran at goal. Sadly his shooting was off the radar and he smashed his shot wide from eight yards out.

Chelsea were performing the stronger and Steve Cook made a good block from Batshuayi before Gary Cahill hit a speculative volley from 30 yards over the bar.

Bournemouth or rather Steve Cook started to make mistakes. He passed straight to Willian and had Francis to thank for clearing the danger. Surman then gave the ball away to Kenedy who shot wide.

Mousset almost stole in as the half closed but Rüdiger was always ready to cover. 
Just the one goal down.
Second half
Bournemouth suddenly started to turn the game around. An early corner could have been the break they were looking for but the ball bouncing on the six yard line just wouldn't drop for a Bournemouth player.  More corners for Bournemouth would follow as they started to ramp up the pressure on Chelsea.

Arter had suddenly become a man possessed and was chasing down everything. Ibe had a shot blocked by Fabregas and Zappacosta went down injured to give Chelsea a chance to regroup. Another Bournemouth corner almost fell to Simpson but he could not get a clear header in.

Ibe was starting to create and Mousset forced another corner that eventually saw Fraser put a shot wide.

Chelsea reacted by taking Willian off and taking Pedro off on 62 minutes and bringing on Eden Hazard and Bakayoko.

Zappacosta had to watch his tackling after picking up a yellow card for fouling Ryan Fraser.  Arter was again forcing mistakes and Ibe put a good pas into Gosling who shot horribly over from a good position.

Chelsea had a moment when they could have claimed Kenedy was fouled in the box having trapped the ball between his ankles and kind of jumping over a challenge with the ball, but Lee Mason played on. It was a great bit of skill by Kenedy.

Eddie Howe subbed Mousset for Wilson in the last 19 minutes.  Jack Simpson was carded for a foul on Zappacosta, before Batashuayi was subbed for Morata to come on.

Chelsea were quick on the break again, but Francis hauled back Kenedy and was booked. The pressure was really growing now with Bournemouth knowing time was running out. Setev Cook put a shot over while Bournemouth came even closer when Fraser and the Wilson created an opening for Ibe who shot low and inches wide of the post.

Wilson then turned well in the box and caused Caballero to put out a big right hand as the ball travelled across the six yard box.

Adam Smith caught Fabregas with a ate challenge and also went into the book, but Bournemouth were fighting for everything now. The corners had not come off but a throw near Chelsea's box did the trick when the ball came out to Ibe and he squared it for Gosling to meet the pass with a first time shot straight into the right hand side of the goal 1-1. It was right on 90 minutes and we were all set for another half hour we thought.

Four minutes of added time began and wouldn't you know it. While we were still celebrating Chelsea went and won it in the next few seconds as Hazard sucked in Steve Cook and beat Simon Francis before making the pass for Morata to shatter our dreams. 
A horrible way to lose right at the end.
It was an excellent performance by the Cherries despite another defeat. This was Bournemouth fighting with fire and to suffer an early goal of such quality they could have easily folded. That they didn't tells me that they do have the spirit to battle this season and to have the second half they did made the fans pretty proud to be Bournemouth supporters. While Chelsea had been brilliant in the first 45 minutes, you could have believed the players had swapped shirts at half time because it was all Bournemouth in the second half. It would have been fitting to have taken Chelsea to extra time and penalties but it was a cruel end to the game and that extra bit of quality counted in the end. Congratulations to Chelsea, but they know this was not as easy a win as they thought it would have been after the first quarter of an hour. 
AFCB Line up - Arter (calf) and Defoe (ankle) came off injured.

Referee Watch: Lee Mason 7/10 He was more than generous towards Bournemouth and he did give a lot of fouls mostly Bournemouth's way. So who is complaining?

Ramsdale, L Cook, Aké, Pugh, Hyndman, Ibe, Wilson

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, Francis 6, S Cook 4, Simpson 7, A Smith 5, Arter 8 (L Cook 5), Surman 6,
Gosling 7, Fraser 8, Mousset 5 (Wilson 5), Defoe 5 (Ibe 7)

Cherry Chimes MoM: Harry Arter

Caballero, Rüdiger, Ampadu, Cahill, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Fàbregas, Kenedy,
Willian (E Hazard) Batshuayi (Morata), Pedro (Bakayoko)

Chelsea Subs
Eduardo, Clarke-Salter, Sterling, Hudson-Odoi, Morata, E Hazard, Bakayoko

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