Chelsea's poor form continued as the Blues slipped to a surprise 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
The Blues once again were lacking in attack and were also made to pay for some poor defending as second-half goals from Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and Nathan Ake gave the visitors a deserved win.
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte handed a first start to Ross Barkley, with Eden Hazard playing as a false nine and Thibaut Courtois and Cesar Azpilicueta both back in the team. The two clubs shared their lineups via Twitter:
New Chelsea signings Olivier Giroud and Emerson Palmieri were also in attendance as they watched their new team from the stands, per the Telegraph:
Chelsea had the better of the first half, with Hazard their biggest threat, but could not break down a committed Bournemouth side that defended well.
The Blues also suffered a blow as defender Andreas Christensen was forced off in the 28th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, per Liam Twomey at ESPN FC:
Antonio Rudiger replaced the Denmark international, and Chelsea then went on to fashion a couple of good chances. Gary Cahill headed a corner over the crossbar before Marcos Alonso just failed to pick out Hazard.
Hazard then looked set to go clean through on goal but was denied by a superb challenge from Steve Cook before Alonso headed just wide from a Davide Zappacosta cross.
Chelsea looked to be lacking a real presence up front, and Giroud will be expecting to start their next match on Monday at Watford, according to Simon Johnson at the Evening Standard:
Bournemouth started the second half strongly and took the lead in the 51st minute. Wilson stole possession from Tiemoue Bakayoko and swapped passes with Jordon Ibe before tucking the ball past Courtois.
Hazard looked to respond instantly, but his shot was saved by goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, and the action then switched to the other end as Dan Gosling's fierce effort flew just too high.
In search of an equaliser, Conte replaced Barkley with Cesc Fabregas in the 54th minute, but the change proved ineffective.
The Cherries doubled their lead in the 64th minute. Wilson turned provider this time, slipping Stanislas through on goal. The midfielder raced clear before poking the ball through Courtois' legs.
Conte opted to make a final substitution immediately afterwards, bringing on 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi for Zappacosta. Per Opta, the substitute was the second-youngest player to debut for the Blues in the Premier League:
However, within minutes of his arrival, Bournemouth had a third as Stanislas fed former Chelsea man Ake to turn in from close range.
The goal effectively sealed the game, although the Blues tried to respond with Alonso shooting just wide and Pedro appealing for a penalty after his shot hit Ake's arm from point-blank range. It would have been a harsh decision if given, and referee Lee Probert waved the appeals away.
It was a huge win for the visitors as they put distance between themselves and the relegation zone, but it was another poor result for the champions. Chelsea slipped to fourth place behind Liverpool on goal difference as a result of the three-goal defeat, with pressure continuing to build on Conte.