Chelsea 0-1 AFC Bournemouth: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis | Premier League 2019-20
Dan Gosling's brilliant late overhead lob ensured a diligent Bournemouth display confined Chelsea to a fourth Premier League defeat in their last five matches, as Frank Lampard's men struggled while failing to create many chances during another forgettable result.
Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Emerson and substitute Mateo Kovacic all went close with efforts for the Blues. However, service into the club's leading goalscorer Tammy Abraham was poor, as you could sense fans' increased tension with the scores still finely poised.
Bournemouth were ultimately the better side, creating promising opportunities of their own. If not for some last-ditch defending and skewed decision-making, the scoreline could have been completely different. It was an admirable showing, one they'll hope to build from.
The result snaps a five-game losing streak for the visitors, their first victory since beating Manchester United on November 2nd. Chelsea remain in the top four but crucially lose grip on their Champions League place with a handful of teams below them still to play this weekend.
Without further ado, here's a look at five talking points from a surprise result in West London.
5. VAR does its job - proving precisely why officials need help
Chelsea partially cleared their lines from a corner, but after Jefferson Lerma's power header back goalwards, Gosling showed great improvisation and awareness to deftly flick an effort over Kepa Arrizabalaga and score, despite Cesar Azpilicueta's attempted clearance.
Gosling's strike had initially been ruled offside so after an anxious wait, VAR ensured the correct decision was made. Camera replays showed his midfield teammate Philip Billing was indeed offside when Lerma headed back into a dangerous area - but he ran back onside and didn't directly impact the phase of play from said position. Mason Mount played Gosling onside, so the decision was overturned and Bournemouth wheeled away to celebrate.
The technology has been heavily criticised for several reasons since being introduced in the Premier League at the start of this campaign. However, instances like these justify why it's so important to have as football progresses with the times while removing human error from a game where fine margins are often the difference between winning and losing.
You could see why the linesman on the far side flagged for offside, but Billing didn't interfere with play and those same margins were tight between Gosling and Mount too. Critics are quick to highlight VAR's shortcomings on a weekly basis, so it's only fair the technology gets the credit it deserves.