Match report: Bournemouth 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea had to settle for a point on the South Coast despite hitting the woodwork twice and creating several other good chances.
Nicolas Jackson and Raheem Sterling were those denied by the frame of the goal, and Bournemouth keeper Neto also made good saves to keep out Conor Gallagher, Levi Colwill and sub Cole Palmer.
The Cherries had opportunities of their own, though, and Robert Sanchez produced a fantastic stop in each half to preserve our clean sheet during an entertaining if ultimately goalless game.
Mauricio Pochettino made two changes to the Chelsea team that started our defeat to Nottingham Forest prior to the international break. Lesley Ugochukwu was handed his full Premier League debut, and Mykhailo Mudryk his first start this term. Moises Caicedo missed out altogether through a knee problem sustained representing Ecuador in midweek. The bench included youngsters Alfie Gilchrist, Alex Matos and Ronnie Stutter.
Chelsea, sporting our new Eton Blue third kit on a wet and windy afternoon in Dorset, fashioned a good chance inside three minutes. Mudryk and Jackson combined neatly, although the former’s cross was a little awkward for captain Gallagher to direct on target.
More excellent interchange between Mudryk and Jackson created space for the Senegalese, whose low shot from the edge of the D hit the outside of the post with Neto struggling.
Sanchez made his best save in a Chelsea shirt yet as the 20-minute mark approached, spreading himself to deny Dango Ouattara from point-blank range after the Cherries worked a free-kick short.
The rest of the half was a scrappier affair with clear chances at a premium. The best fell to Gallagher after Mudryk’s pass reached him 10 yards out, and this time it was Neto’s moment to shine, getting down quickly to his right and using a strong right hand to thwart our skipper.
We so nearly broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half. Sterling, again enjoying an excellent game, whipped a free-kick goalwards. It crashed against the underside of the crossbar but, agonisingly, only about half the ball landed behind the goal-line. It fell to Colwill, who found the net from an offside position.
Colwill nearly prodded us ahead midway through the second half, Neto having kept out Jackson’s side-footed effort, while it needed another super Sanchez stop to keep the contest goalless with 10 minutes left. Dominic Solanke worked a yard of space for himself and got his shot away, only to be repelled by the Spaniard’s outstretched right leg.
Late chances come and go
Subs Palmer and Ian Maatsen were denied by some desperate last-ditch Bournemouth defending as we sought a late winner, the Blues’ frustration mounting. Again, missed opportunities and a lack of decisiveness in the final third had cost us three points.
The Blues’ first away point of the season, and second clean sheet this term, keeps us in 14th place in the table, although of course it remains early days.
We host Aston Villa a week today before our Carabao Cup campaign continues at home to Brighton on Wednesday 27 September.