Predictable, ponderous and repeatedly picked apart, this was Chelsea at their absolute worst under Maurizio Sarri’s management. ‘Sarriball’, as it is known, was simply overpowered by a Bournemouth wrecking ball on a night when Eddie Howe set a trap and Chelsea strolled straight into it.
Once again, Chelsea enjoyed plenty of possession. Once again, they did nothing with it. The arrival of Gonzalo Higuain, making his first appearance in the league, made little difference to their lack of attacking incision and the Argentine spent much of the second half on the bench, watching as Bournemouth ripped through the visitors again and again.
Two goals from Joshua King, a composed finish from David Brooks and a late Charlie Daniels header ensured that this was a night of total humiliation for Chelsea and for Sarri, who stood raging on the touchline as Howe celebrated each of the goals. Bournemouth had lost their last 10 games against the so-called ‘big six’ in the Premier League but here they were able to impose their will while simultaneously crushing Chelsea’s spirit.
The problems for Chelsea were everywhere Sarri looked. They were foolish and naive at the back, with David Luiz particularly at fault for the second goal, and they were painfully stodgy in attack. Having scored 27 times in their first 11 matches this season, they have now scored only 13 in their last 13. Opposing teams have worked them out, and never was that clearer than here, when Brooks stifled the ineffective Jorginho and Bournemouth pounced with speed and precision.