Dan Gosling’s late goal gave Bournemouth their first win since early November in a scrappy encounter at Chelsea.
The match looked to be heading for a goalless draw when Gosling flicked the ball over his and Kepa Arrizabalaga’s head, the goal originally ruled out for offside.
But the video assistant referee (VAR) awarded the goal, ending Bournemouth’s five-match losing streak and earning them their third away win of the season.
Bournemouth have now beaten Chelsea three times in their five Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge.
Their last Premier League points had come on 2 November, when they beat Manchester United at home.
Frank Lampard’s side had lost three of their previous four top-flight games and lacked tempo and creativity as they welcomed Bournemouth, who move up to 14th in the table.
Mason Mount and Emerson had the best chances to score for the hosts, but they were undone by a resolute Bournemouth defence, who thwarted their opponents’ every move.
Cherries rewarded for battling performance
With Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe forced to choose from a depleted squad after Nathan Ake became the latest to join the Cherries’ considerable injury list, he made four changes to the side who lost to Liverpool last week, with Gosling among those to earn a start.
The visitors started brightly in the first half, Lewis Cook proving troublesome on the wing before Ryan Fraser had a shot smothered by Arrizabalaga.
By half-time, they had enjoyed just 34% of the possession but that was not reflective of the challenge they posed to Chelsea, rarely allowing the Blues a chance on goal with Ramsdale stopping those they did carve out.
There was a rise in tempo at the start of the second half as Chelsea found a much-needed second gear, with Cook going in the book for a lunging tackle on Emerson.
Bournemouth’s ventures into Chelsea’s half were few and far between but when they did cross the half-way line, their hosts looked far from comfortable with Joshua King enjoying several forays forward.
Ramsdale denied Emerson from point-blank range as the match headed for a stalemate before substitute Dominic Solanke – replacing King, who rolled off the pitch after picking up a knock – almost got a touch feet out from Arrizabalaga’s goal.
But Bournemouth left Chelsea shellshocked with Gosling’s goal – just one of two on-target shots the Cherries had in the match.
With his back to goal, Gosling perfectly flicked the ball over and in, the Bournemouth end of Stamford Bridge erupting as VAR made its decision.
Chelsea lack zest in frustrating show
Chelsea came into this match on the back of a 3-1 defeat by Everton last week, a match in which, once again, their vulnerabilities in defence were on show.
Lampard brought in Antonio Rudiger to face Bournemouth for only his second league appearance this season and the Germany international shone in the Blues’ defence, making more clearances and winning more possession than any of his team-mates.
In an uneventful first half, Chelsea’s performance was lifeless, Mount having perhaps the best opportunity to put his side ahead only to be denied by a solid Ramsdale save.
Willian showed glimpses of magic at the heart of every attack the Blues managed to put together, but they went into the interval having been unable to break down Bournemouth’s defence – and showing no sign of ideas of how to.
When the second half got under way, they looked to have raised their game somewhat as they rained attack after attack on the Bournemouth defence, with Emerson going closest to scoring.
Mateo Kovacic scuppered his chance to equalise after Bournemouth had taken the lead, and Chelsea have now lost two of their last three league home games – as many as they had in the previous 28.
Man of the match – Dan Gosling (Bournemouth)
‘A lot of soul searching’ – what they said
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, speaking to Match of the Day: “It’s been a really difficult run, a lot of soul searching has gone on. We’ve lost a lot of players to injuries and we had to step up to a really tough test today.
“We had to come up with something slightly different because if you do the same things you get the same result.
“In the second half I thought we were a real threat in the match and we could have scored more. Our goalkeeper at the other end made some big saves.”
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, speaking to Match of the Day: “We need to move the ball quicker and the attacking players have to hurt them more – behind the lines, one-v-one. It was all a bit safe from us and that’s something we’ll have to work on on the training ground.
“I wouldn’t blame it [the performance] on the busy schedule, I’d blame it on us getting it wrong.”
On the club’s current league run: “We are fourth and that, I think, we would have taken at the start of the season because a lot of people expected less of us.
“Going into the Manchester City game a few weeks ago we were looking up but now we need to show a reaction and get results. This was always going to be the case. I knew with the squad we have there would be tough moments.”
- Since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2015, no side has won more top-flight away games against Chelsea than Bournemouth (three, level with Liverpool).
- Chelsea have lost two of their last three Premier League home games (W1), as many as they had in their previous 28 at Stamford Bridge (W16 D10 L2).
- Having scored in 14 consecutive home league games, Chelsea have now failed to score in two of their last three at Stamford Bridge.
- Chelsea have lost five of their 14 home games in all competitions this season, just one fewer than they had in 62 games over 2017-18 and 2018-19 combined.
- Bournemouth had just two shots on target in this match – the first of the game in the third minute before Gosling’s 84th-minute winner.
- Gosling scored his first Premier League goal since April, in what was his first start of the season.
Chelsea travel across London to face Tottenham on Sunday, 22 December (16:30 GMT), while Bournemouth host Burnley the day before (15:00 GMT).