BOURNEMOUTH: Chelsea’s much-vaunted attack failed to fire again as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Bournemouth at the Vita­lity Stadium on Sunday, the second Premier League game in a row in which the Blues have failed to score.

After losing 1-0 to Nottingham Forest in their last league game, Chelsea dominated possession in the first half with Nicolas Jackson striking the foot of the post in the 14th minute and Conor Gallagher wasting a glorious opportunity just after the half-hour mark.

Dango Outtara enjoyed the best of Bournemouth’s rare first-half chances as he connected with a low ball across the box, but Chelsea keeper Robert Sanchez dived to smother his close-range shot.

The visitors had the ball in the net early in the second half as Raheem Sterling struck the angle of post and crossbar with a free kick and Levi Colwill blasted home the rebound, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

The introduction of Justin Kluivert as a second-half substitute gave Bournemouth a much-needed attacking edge and he was fouled on the edge of the area in the 76th minute, but Philip Billing’s subsequent free kick was deflected wide for a corner.

Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke followed that up shortly afterwards with a fierce shot, and moments later he sent a looping header just wide as the home side enjoyed a rare spell of attacking pressure.

Chelsea almost got the winner five minutes from the end of normal time as Sterling picked out Cole Palmer, but Cherries keeper Neto made a brilliant one-handed reflex save to keep out the substitute’s deft volley.

The draw moves Bournemouth up to 15th spot on three points, two points and one place behind Chelsea whose coach Mauricio Pochettino could not hide his disappointment.

“What the numbers say in the end is that it wasn’t enough. It’s always about the game. We should win 1-0, 2-0 today easily because in the first 30 minutes we had the chances,” he told Sky Sports. “If we didn’t score and didn’t win the game, maybe you need to say to the people that it wasn’t enough,” he added.

Bournemouth’s players felt they were unlucky not to win.

“Coming straight off the game, we’re disappointed not to take all three points. They had some chances but I think we played our best game of the season so far,” defender Max Aarons said.

In Saturday’s late game, Newcastle beat Brentford 1-0 at St James’ Park to end a run of three successive defeats.

Eddie Howe’s side won for the second time this season thanks to Callum Wilson, who netted a 64th minute penalty after Anthony Gordon was fouled by Mark Flekken.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2023

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