39 min: Gallagher to Sterling yet again, slicing through the midfield. Sterling makes a lovely turn, and Lloyd Kelly can only bring him down.
35 min: Another lovely ball from Gallagher to Sterling, another attack that comes to nothing.
35 min: Gallagher and Sterling combine again with a one-two that leaves Sterling with a choice: blast from afar or slip in Jackson. He takes option two and perhaps regrets it.
33 min: Big chance for Gallagher! Some patient little passes find Chelsea’s captain for the day near the penalty spot. He has time to take a touch, but not enough time to steer the ball away from Neto. The man he sort of replaced, Mason Mount, might have buried that one.
30 min: Ouattara cuts in from the left, has a go from distance and somehow sends the ball out for a throw-in. It’s lucky he’s playing at home.
29 min: Rumours of Bournemouth’s reinvention may have been exaggerated. Yes, they press at the front, but they also go long from the back. So far it’s not quite working, but they are looking as if they have a goal in them. Possession, which was 70-30, is now 63-37.
25 min: Chelsea build from the back, in exemplary fashion – goalie to back four to Gallagher to Sterling, moving inside to No 10 and finding acres. Malo Gusto races forward to take Sterling’s place on the right wing… and crosses straight to Neto.
23 min: Chelsea go up the other end and it’s pinball in the Bournemouth box. Sterling’s shot is blocked and the way fans are certain it’s a penalty, a view shared by nobody else.
21 min: Bournemouth win a free kick in midfield. A chip forward, a header from the lively Ouattara and they think they’ve won a corner, but David Coote doesn’t agree.
18 min: Chance for Bournemouth! Out of nowhere, as far as the viewer can tell as the cameras were lingering on the managers. Suddenly Ouattara was clean through from the left with only Sanchez to beat, and he hit the ball straight at him. As the ball pings around, Bournemouth get a second shot in, also straight at Sanchez.
16 min: Chelsea have had 70pc of the ball so far, and all three of the shots – but the only one on target was that first tame effort from Fernandez. They win a corner now, and another, without looking like cashing in.
13 min: Jackson hits the post! A neat one-two with Mudryk and Jackson aims low to Neto’s right. It’s not a bad shot, but it’s not quite good enough.
12 min: The one player to shine in the gloom has been Gallagher, so busy and deft.
11 min: Chance for Sterling! But he doesn’t seem to realise it. Gallagher slips him through with a nice little perpendicular ball in the inside-right channel, and he opts to square it to nobody when he could have blasted it into the net.
8 min: Still scrappy. Bournemouth break down the left, but nothing comes of it.
Here’s Drew Chappell in Canada with a good spot. “Just thought I’d point out that Chelsea’s bench has a total of one player who has started a PL game. They have a full XI of injured players:
Defenders: James, Fofana, Badiashile, Cucurella.
Midfield: Lavia, Caicedo.
Attackers: Madueke, Nkunku, Chukwumueka.
”That team on paper would definitely beat the one Chelsea have on the pitch!”
5 min: It’s all a bit scrappy. And slippy, as it’s raining hard on the south coast.
4 min: The first yellow card of the game goes to … Raheem Sterling! For a cynical old tackle on Dominic Solanke.
3 min: Chelsea attack again. The much-maligned Mudryk does well with a burst of pace, then does less well with an overhit cut-back to Conor Gallagher.
2 min: Bournemouth show off their new-found pressing skills and Chelsea struggle to get out of their half… but then they break and Sterling slips a square ball to Fernandez, who shoots straight at the keeper.
1 min: And we’re off, with Bournemouth, in their classic red and black stripes, going long right away and Chelsea, in palest green, lining up with a back four.
The players and fans observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the natural disasters in Morocco and Libya.
An email comes in from a place beloved of all Talking Heads fans: Pittsburgh, PA. “Good morning from Pittsburgh!” says the reliably enthusiastic Eric Peterson. “’m sorry to say this, considering how much this neutral is enjoying the hot mess of a club that rich and privileged Chelsea have become. But the new, modern, expansive Bournemouth that their new ownership is trying to create is not as well suited to beating the Blues as the gritty, gutty Bournemouth that Gary O’Neil led to Premier League survival last year. Having said that, if Chelsea, for all their talent, continue to play like a team waiting for good things to happen, rather than getting down and making them happen, it might not matter.”
Know what you mean, Eric, but Gary O’Neil’s grit didn’t leave a mark on Chelsea last season. Bournemouth managed to lose to them twice, which was quite an achievement.
It’s 20 years since the biggest thing ever to happen in the Chelsea boardroom – the Abramovich takeover. A subject well worth a column from Barney Ronay.
It’s an interesting selection from Pochettino. He gives Mykhailo Mudryk a start for the first time, preferring him to Cole Palmer. So far in his time at Chelsea, Mudryk has been all pace and no trousers. Maybe this is a sign that Poch is expecting to play on the counter.
He is short of options in midfield as Moises Caicedo is unfit, which means a first PL start for Lesley Ugochukyu, the 19-year-old French-Nigerian who has made a couple of appearances off the bench. If you were Andoni Iraola, who would you be wary of in that Chelsea XI? Perhaps only Enzo Fernandez and Raheem Sterling.
A tweet comes in from Brendan Large, speaking for the Chelsea faithful. “I would just like to highlight one success so far,” he says, “in terms of our summer business. Gusto at right-back looks a real talent and a more than able back-up to Reece James. At least here we can say we have improved after the ageing Azpilicueta was let go.”
Bournemouth (probable 4-2-3-1) Neto; Aarons, Zabarnyi, Kelly, Kerkez; Christie, Cook; Ouattara, Billing, Tavernier; Solanke.
Subs: Andrei Radu, Smith, Senesi, Rothwell, Brooks, Semenyo, Traore, Sinisterra, Kluivert.
Chelsea (probable 4-3-3) Sanchez; Gusto, Thiago Silva, Disasi, Colwill; Fernandez, Gallagher, Ugochukwu; Sterling, Jackson, Mudryk.
Subs: Petrovic, Bergstrom, Gilchrist, Chilwell, Maatsen, Matos, Stutter, Deivid, Palmer.
Referee David Coote.
Afternoon everyone and welcome to … what, exactly? If you look through the lens of the past decade, this is a mismatch: a little club welcoming a big one. Seen through the lens of the past year, it’s too close to call: the 16th-best team in the league playing host to the 14th-best.
Bournemouth v Chelsea has often been the sort of encounter in which the home team are happy with a hard-fought point, but not right now. If you look at meetings between the big eight – the usual suspects, plus Newcastle and Brighton – and the other 12 Premier League clubs, there have been only three games this season that produced an upset and two of those have involved Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea. They lost to West Ham and Nottingham Forest, which suggests they are quite capable of losing today.
Bournemouth’s results have been more logical. They have been beaten by the big clubs (Liverpool, Spurs) while drawing with the rest (West Ham, Brentford). Andoni Iraola has yet to chalk up his first league victory, although he would have had it at Brentford, a difficult place to win, had it not been for a supreme piece of skill from Bryan Mbeumo in the 93rd minute.
It’s Chelsea, still reeling from their own shopping spree, who really need a win today. If they get it, they will skip up the table to eighth and the pressure will be off Pochettino. If they lose, Chelsea will slide below Bournemouth, leaving Poch in crisis corner with Erik ten Hag.
It’s all quite intriguing. Kick-off is at 2pm and I’ll be back soon with the teams.