Chelsea’s bid for a top-four finish was rocked by a humiliating 4-0 thrashing at Bournemouth on Wednesday, on a day Liverpool were frustrated by Leicester at Anfield to settle for a 1-1 draw and a five point lead at the league summit.
At Dean Court, Chelsea suffered a second successive defeat that left their bid to qualify for the Champions League under severe threat. It was the second time in Premier League history that Chelsea had lost a match by a four-goal margin, after losing 1-5 against Liverpool in 1996
The Blues, winners in just one of their last four league games, drop down to fifth place — below Arsenal on goals scored — with Manchester United only two points behind in sixth.
Chelsea were in control early on and Mateo Kovacic’s header was tipped onto the bar by Artur Boruc.
But, not for the first time this season, Maurizio Sarri’s team lacked a cutting edge, even with Gonzalo Higuain making his Premier League debut following the Argentine striker’s loan move from Juventus.
Bournemouth made them pay in the 47th minute when Josh King converted a David Brooks pass.
Brooks added to Sarri’s woes in the 63rd minute as the Bournemouth winger eased past the flat-footed David Luiz to lash in the second goal.
Chelsea’s fans were furious, chanting “you don’t know what you’re doing” at Sarri when he substituted Higuain.
But the misery wasn’t over for Chelsea, who conceded again in the 75th minute when King struck, before Charlie Daniels netted in stoppage-time to condemn the west Londoners to their heaviest league loss in over two decades.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said at the end of the match: “We scored some wonderful goals. I think we played better football in that game last season. This game we rode our luck early but counter attacked superbly. That is a feature I’ll remember from this game”