The first season in the Premier League is rarely a picnic for newly promoted teams. Fans who were used to watching their team winning in the Championship now come to watch their boys take a beating. The teams that survive are often those who have enough team spirit and togetherness to fight on until the bitter end. Leicester’s surge towards the end of last season is a case in point—and Eddie Howe’s team have plenty of fight in them. Against Everton the Cherries came back at the death to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat, seven minutes into injury time. That kind of spirit is sure to be invaluable in escaping the drop. Their opponents Chelsea looked entirely spirit-less until the last two matches—including a draw at in-form Spurs that might just indicate a corner turned.
Cahill comes into this game on the back of signing a new contract that will keep him at the club until 2019, a far cry from playing in the Reebok for Bolton a few years ago. Now Bolton are in serious financial bother and Cahill has won the League Cup, the FA Cup, the Champions League, the Europa League and the Premier League title. The Englishman isn’t shy around the goal either, and he has scored the same number of goals for Chelsea as he did for Bolton (15). With Nemanja Matic and Fabregas remembering how to play, Cahill will enjoy a little more protection against Bournemouth than he has had generally so far.
Having made just three appearances in the league before last weekend’s heroics, no one would have predicted Stanislas scoring twice against Everton to save Bournemouth’s bacon. That’s precisely what he did though, powering home a header that kicked off wild celebrations inside the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth may be the away side, but they won’t be daunted now to face the league’s big teams like Chelsea—and now they carry a growing threat of their own in Stanislas. Principally a left-sided midfielder but capable of moving around the pitch, he’s sure to give Ivanovic nightmares if he gets the chance.
The official award of MotM went to Ross Barkley, but there were several observers who felt Josh King was a more deserving recipient. King earned an assist, but it was his dribbling and general play that helped drag the Cherries to a result against Everton. King managed five successful dribbles during the match and maintained a pass success of almost 80%, higher than most of the Everton players. Sometimes new sides in the league can spring a surprise on the old guard, and they do it with lesser known players like King.
Nemanja Matic gets the honourable mention for this match, proving in the contest with Spurs that he is still a top defensive midfielder. Chelsea have been sleepwalking through the season, but it looks like Matic at least is waking up.