No Costa and no Kante? No problem as Chelsea extend run

Chelsea celebrate BournemouthChelsea moved seven points clear at the top of the table by beating Bournemouth on Monday evening to set a club record of 12 straight Premier League wins.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Pedro broke the deadlock with a deflected shot that looped into the top corner before Eden Hazard capped an impressive display by making it 2-0 from the spot after he was brought down by Simon Francis. Chelsea added a third goal deep in injury time when Pedro’s shot hit Steve Cook and the ball span over the line.

Much was made of suspensions of key stars Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante, despite many praising the run Chelsea find themselves in, people were expecting a tougher test when key players were unavailable however they have silenced a few doubters.

Kante’s absence saw Fabregas recalled to partner Nemanja Matic at the heart of Antonio Conte’s midfield. They took time to settle down, giving Jack Wilshere too much room on a couple of occasions before the break, but they were far more assured after half-time.

Fabregas looked comfortable in the middle of the pitch, with Matic giving the Spaniard the license to link up with the likes of Willian, Hazard and Pedro, in the second half especially he began to find more and more gaps as the Bournemouth players started to slowly tire out of the game.

The former Barcelona man’s work rate off the ball has somewhat improved also, it’s clear to see that he doesn’t possess the legs of Kante although his 100% work rate didn’t go unnoticed with him winning challenges, covering ground and making interceptions.

Many pondered who would start in the absence of the influential Diego Costa, the striker has been directly involved in 51 percent of Chelsea’s goals in the competition (13 goals, five assists) prior to Bournemouth’s visit. With many tipping young star Michy Batshuayi to start, it was Hazard who was the ‘false 9’ with Pedro and Willian on either side of him.

It is fair to say the Belgian ran the Cherries backline riot, they simply couldn’t keep up with him. Dropping shoulders, the odd step over and burst of acceleration were just a few ways of how he tore the likes of Charlie Daniels, Steve Cook and Simon Francis apart.

The 25 year-old relished his greater responsibility, dropping deep to initiate slick 1-2s while Pedro provided a more vertical threat with his direct running in behind. To illustrate the point, Chelsea’s first goal came from the Spain international drifting into the central space vacated by his superstar teammate.

It’s testament to Antonio Conte who has found a way to keep his players at the top of their game, with big players like Kante and Costa absent, many sides would struggle but not Chelsea. We’ve seen in the past how Manchester City lack firepower without Aguero or Manchester United without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Chelsea had won only one of the previous 11 Premier League matches they started without Costa. On this evidence, those problems are in the past.

The Blues are no doubt the team to beat in the Premier League with 12 consecutive victories although Conte will be fully aware of the challenge that awaits them on New Year’s Eve against Stoke City.

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