Nathan Ake

Bournemouth 2-1 Arsenal: Cherries keep Gunners down

1 Comment
  • Sanchez left out of squad
  • Bellerin puts Arsenal up
  • Wilson scores in 100th AFCB app
  • Cherries beat Arsenal for first time

Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe scored second half goals as Bournemouth came back to beat Arsenal 2-1 on Sunday at the Vitality Stadium, securing its first ever win over the Gunners.

Hector Bellerin scored Arsenal’s lone goal in a match played without injured Mesut Ozil and “vague” Alexis Sanchez.

It’s Arsenal’s first league loss since Dec. 2, but that eight-match stretch includes just two wins to go with Sunday’s loss and five draws.

The Gunners are now five points back of the Top Four before fourth-place Liverpool hosts Man City at 11 a.m. ET.

Bournemouth rises to 13 with 24 points, four points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

An active first 20 minutes showed both Arsene Wenger and Eddie Howe remained aligned in spirit, pushing tempo (albeit at the expense of precision on this particular Sunday).

Perhaps the best chance of the half was blocked by Arsenal’s Callum Chambers, as in-form Ryan Fraser was alone at the back post following a seeing-eye cross from the right.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bellerin put Arsenal ahead in the 52nd minute, racing down the right and watching as Asmir Begovic could only get most of his hard shot.

Bournemouth, spurred by lively Ibe and Nathan Ake, produced some promising moves over the next quarter hour.

The Cherries went level in the 70th minute through Wilson, who beat a sliding Petr Cech to a Fraser cross.

Ibe then broke his Cherries duck, belting a low shot through traffic after Wilson’s trap spun onto his path.

Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham: Chaos down south

Leave a comment
  • Bournemouth winless in nine
  • Arnautovic has five goals in five
  • Begovic slips for howler on rain-drenched day

A controversial late equalizer at rain-soaked Vitality Stadium gave unlikely goal scorer Nathan Ake a brace, as Bournemouth earned a 3-3 draw with visiting West Ham United on Boxing Day.

Marko Arnautovic scored a pair of late goals to seemingly prod West Ham in front after the Cherries led on Ake’s first and a Dan Gosling marker.

James Collins scored West Ham’s other goal.

The Irons remain a point above the Bottom Three, with Bournemouth in 18th with 17.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The hosts’ post-holiday hopes took an early hit through Collins, who rose to head home moments after Bournemouth popped a similar chance over the bar.

Josh King just missed making it 1-1 when his side-footed turn of a Callum Wilson cross knifed wide of the frame.

At the other end, Arthur Masuaku found Andre Ayew, but the Frenchman’s first touch hit whistled wide of the net.

Gosling put Bournemouth level by finding a loose ball in the 18 and firing it beyond Adrian.

Simon Francis was fortunate to stay in the match when his high trap attempt caught Cheikhou Kouyate in the face.

Adrian collected a popped King header just before halftime.

Bournemouth kept up its pressure in the downpour. A Jordon Ibe set piece led to a corner kick, and Ake found a seeing-eye ball and deposited it behind Adrian.

The Spanish keeper denied Gosling’s hopes for a brace in the 63rd minute.

Arnautovic got the equalizer when Asmir Begovic slipped onto his rear end on a clearing attempt, allowing the Austrian to slide home for 2-2.

Masuaku swept a cross through to Javier Hernandez, and Begovic’s save pushed the ball right onto Arnautovic’s path for the winner.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bournemouth completes record signing of Chelsea’s Ake

Michael Steele/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Bournemouth has signed their man, officially.

[ MORE: No takeover at Sunderland, but club does have new manager ]

The Cherries announced on Friday that the club has agreed to terms on a deal with Chelsea defender Nathan Ake, who becomes Bournemouth’s richest signing in Premier League history.

It’s being reported that the transfer fee was in excess of $25 million, however, neither club has confirmed that number.

“I had a great time here last season so I’m really happy to be back,” said Ake.

“It’s an exciting challenge. Chelsea is a great club and I learned so much there but this is a new step and the right place for me to develop even more.

Ake made 12 appearances for Bournemouth last season in the Premier League while on loan from the Blues, including netting three goals in that span from his outside back position.

The Cherries had been heavily pursuing Ake since he was recalled from his loan during the second half of the 2016/17 season.

Conte preparing Ake to start against Spurs with Cahill sidelined

Michael Steele/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Gary Cahill sidelined due to injury and outgoing club legend John Terry unlikely to get the starting nod, Antonio Conte appears to have found a suitable replacement for Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks — Week 34 ]

The Chelsea manager believes that Nathan Ake, who recently returned to the club from a loan spell with Bournemouth, will be ready to fill the void left by Cahill when the Blues face Tottenham at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: Full PL schedule ahead of this weekend’s action ]

Ake, 22, has been in the Chelsea system since joining the club’s youth academy in 2011, but now could be the Dutchman’s big opportunity to make an impression after having previously only making 14 appearances over four seasons.

“Ake thinks he deserves to have this chance to play,” Conte said. “He is showing me his all in this period, always great commitment. He worked very hard. His behaviour was great, was fantastic, and he never told anything.

“Don’t forget that Ake was playing every game with Bournemouth, and he wanted to come and to stay with us to try to work together and to help us to fight for the title.

During his time with Bournemouth this season, Ake has greatly impressed. In 12 appearances across all competitions, the young defender had notched three goals prior to being recalled by Chelsea earlier this week.

Conte added: “I think he’s a good player, I think he’s ready to have this opportunity, to have this chance, he deserves this opportunity and I trust him. I have no problem to take this decision.

“I think for this position Ake has the right characteristic to be the substitute for Gary.”

Why the heck did Chelsea recall Nathan Ake?

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s tough to criticize much about Chelsea’s spectacular season, and whether they end up winning the title or not, Antonio Conte has been wildly successful at turning around the doldrums of Jose Mourinho’s final year at Stamford Bridge and setting sail towards more fruitful waters.

There is one puzzling decision, however, that may have a major impact on their future.

With captain John Terry announcing he will be leaving the club at the end of the season and Gary Cahill still one of the most overrated players in the Premier League, there has been a need to prepare new blood in the Chelsea defense for years. The club is keenly aware of this fact and has been for years, evident by the 2014 purchase and careful preening of Kurt Zouma.

Nathan Ake is another defender the club has been grooming for years, since they grabbed him as a teenager in the Feyenoord system all the way back in 2011. This season, Ake was loaned to Bournemouth – remember that?

Ake was a big reason why the Cherries had a fantastic first half of the season, finishing the calendar year in 10th, a fine position for a team that escaped relegation last year by the slimmest of margins. He scored three goals in 10 Premier League appearances for the Cherries and brought to the table a fresh defensive prowess at the CB position, a spot that is relatively new to the Dutchman after spending much of his career to this point as a full-back (he played left-back for much of his time on loan at Watford last campaign).

Then, the Blues decided to bring all the progression to a screeching halt, recalling the 22-year-old back to his parent club, where he proceeded to find himself immediately out of the first-team squad. Since returning to Chelsea, he hasn’t seen a single Premier League minute, only finding a spot on the bench five times in 12 games. He has only earned a pair of starts in FA Cup action, keeping a clean sheet against both Brentford and Wolves.

Simply look to Bournemouth’s defensive woes since Ake’s departure to realize just how far he has come. With the Dutch defender on the roster, they conceded 29 goals in 19 matches, not a great total but for the attacking style the Cherries practice, a solid number, one that had them into the top half for much of the 2016 calendar year. Since Ake’s recall, Bournemouth has conceded 29 goals in just 13 games, and the club has dropped down to 16th in the table, looking to stave off relegation yet again.

It’s possible Chelsea wanted the cover Ake provided as Cahill and David Luiz racked up the minutes, but for a team only competing on the League and FA Cup fronts, there is no fixture congestion to navigate. If they truly needed the cover, they would never have loaned him out in the first place. Nothing had changed on the defensive depth chart between August and January.

Ake was obviously loaned out in the summer to aid his development, and he was developing beautifully with his loads of first-team action at Dean Court. So why, with a need for young, title-challenging central defenders in the immediate future, did Chelsea bring Ake to simply shove him back into the depths of the Cobham training ground? We won’t know the impact of the recall until years down the road when Ake is called upon – if ever – but on the surface, this appears to be a decision that makes little sense, and one that could drastically affect the club’s future, even costing them millions should the need arise to purchase a top-level defender rather than use the internal option whose growth may be irreparably stunted.