It must be awfully deflating to be Tottenham right now. Spurs continuously look for chances to exploit a bit of weakness in Chelsea, any sort of slip-up the league leaders might make, but at every turn Chelsea continue to slam the door in their faces.
This time, a 3-1 victory against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium kept Chelsea’s lead at seven points, and the likelihood of the Blues conceding their Premier League lead looks more and more slim.
Chelsea would have known the result from White Hart Lane before their kickoff on Saturday evening, but the pressure didn’t seem to faze them.
Instead, Chelsea put on a professional performance against a Bournemouth side that have proven to be tough to beat at home.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could once again call on his first-choice defence, with Victor Moses returning from injury and restoring a bit of balance to the back line, but that almost didn’t matter early on.
Two minutes in, David Luiz sliced a clearance and forced Thibault Courtois into an early reaction save to prevent Bournemouth taking the lead through an own goal.
As Chelsea tried to recover and establish a rhythm, Bournemouth looked to frustrate the visitors and counter attack at every opportunity.
But the Cherries were hit with a sucker punch on the quarter-hour mark. Diego Costa hasn’t been in great form lately, but every now and then a goal scorer needs a slice of luck to get him back on track.
Moses had been finding loads of space on the right, and his low cross into the area found Costa just inside the 18-yard box. Costa spun, miscued the shot, but got the benefit of a deflection off the head of Adam Smith that sent the ball looping past the stranded Artur Boruc.
Chelsea went in for the kill just minutes later with N’Golo Kante playing a beautiful ball over the top of Bournemouth defence for Eden Hazard. With excellent control, the Belgian raced clear on goal, sauntered past Boruc with a body feint, and passed the ball into the net to give the Blues a comfortable lead.
Bournemouth couldn’t believe they didn’t get a goal back just after the half hour when Benik Afobe met Charlie Davies’ cross, but his volley thumped against the post, bounced of Courtois’ back, and rolled wide of the post.
Joshua King atoned for that slice of bad luck with a moment of good luck just before the half With Bournemouth looking dangerous on the counter, Afobe found King in space on the right, and King’s speculative shot from distance took a deflection off David Luiz’s knee, sending it past the diving Courtois.
Chelsea finally put the match to bed on 67 minutes with a glorious free kick from Marcos Alonso. The Spaniard whipped his free kick into the top right corner with Boruc frozen to his line, giving Chelsea the three points.
Next on the horizon for Chelsea is a trip to Old Trafford and another meeting with a Manchester United side that are desperate for a victory in their bid for a top-four spot. If you fancy a bet on Chelsea winning their 5th Premier League title, you can bet on the next Chelsea game at SmartBets.com.