Simon Francis

Bournemouth beats punchless Chelsea to end losing streak

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Bournemouth snapped a five-match losing streak in a place that feels like home, toppling Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chelsea’s attack was woeful and Bournemouth needed VAR help to get Dan Gosling‘s winner on the board.

The Blues fall for the fourth time in five league matches, and have seen their Top Four cushion slip to a maximum on five points.

Bournemouth gets some relief, rising 14th with 19 points.


Three things we learned

1. Bournemouth still loves the Bridge: Chelsea has now lost to Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge three times since 2015. The Cherries have back-to-back victories over the Blues for the first time ever. These are good things for Eddie Howe, and it was a much better show than the loss to Liverpool.

2. VAR helps Cherries to win: Gosling’s winner was a clever bit of football, the back-to-the-goal midfielder looping over Arrizabalaga. The linesman’s flag was up but Gosling had beaten the fray of people and an offside-appearing teammate had nothing to do with the play. A quality finish deserving of a winner.

3. Poor attack weakens Top Four cushion: Very poor from Chelsea’s attackers as a whole, with Willian the only players truly in-form on the day. Tammy Abraham was the best of an otherwise poor bunch, with Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount poor as starters and Callum Hudson-Odoi and Michy Batshuayi nearly irrelevant off the bench.

Frank Lampard hinted earlier this week that the club still needs to replace Eden Hazard. Transfer ban lifted, his men did little to convince him otherwise on Saturday.

Man of the Match: With respect to Simon Francis and Jefferson Lerma, the honor goes to Gosling for his creativity at outsmarting the Blues back line and beating Arrizabalaga.


Mason Mount’s sloppy touch betrayed a 26th minute Chelsea attack set up by Willian.

Christian Pulisic nearly nodded home at the back from a very tight angle in the 39th minute, one of few moments of danger for either side.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Bournemouth regrouped at the break and Chelsea’s defenders had several strong moments in keeping shot attempts from reaching Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Pulisic led a charge into the right that led to a corner kick, and the Blues won another off a Willian shot.

Aaron Ramsdale made an incredible stop on Emerson‘s solid point-blank header of a Cesar Azpilicueta flick.

Gosling thought he’d scored in the 84th minute with a clever shot, but the offside flag was raised.

VAR fixed that, and the losing streak ended in London.

Wolves see off 10-man Bournemouth

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Wolverhampton Wanderers beat 10-man Bournemouth 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side rode two early strikes to victory.

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Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez made it 2-0 early on and Simon Francis was then sent off to make matters worst for Bournemouth. The Cherries did valiantly fight back as Steve Cook scored in the second half and they went close to making it 2-2, but Wolves held on for a big win in a big week with their crucial Europa League game on Thursday.

With the win Wolves are up to fifth place on 19 points, while Bournemouth are in 11th on 16 points.


3 things we learned

1. Sloppy defending bites Bournemouth again: Eddie Howe‘s side have shored things up this season, but two sloppy defensive errors cost them for the second week running in the Premier League. Moutinho made the most of the first and Jimenez the second, while Francis was sent off. Bournemouth were their own worst enemies at the back.

2. Wolves grinding out wins: Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have now secured two-straight wins in the Premier League and they are unbeaten in their last eight games. They are on a roll and after a slow start to the season they are back in the top six. They had to suffer in the second half at Bournemouth but they got the job done, just as they did for much of last season. Wolves are tough to play against and were clinical.

3. Moutinho’s moments of magic: He flies under the radar a little with Jimenez, Neves and Traore capable of magic moments, but Moutinho keeps things ticking over very nicely for Wolves and is so consistent. His experience is key in Europe and the PL and his free kick for his goal and his clever quick free kick for Wolves’ second summed up his quality.

Man of the Match: Steve Cook – Even though he was on the losing team, Steve Cook stood tall. He pulled one back for Bournemouth and came close to scoring another and it looked like Bournemouth were the team with a one-man advantage instead of Wolves.


Wolves took the lead in stunning fashion as Moutinho stepped up on the far left hand side of the box and whipped home a delightful free kick into the far top corner after Francis has fouled Jota.

They then doubled their lead as Moutinho’s quick free kick found Adama Traore who crossed for Jimenez to slot home. Bournemouth’s defense had been totally caught out and Wolves were having fun in the rain on the south coast.

Things then went from bad to worse for Bournemouth as Francis was sent off.

In his first game back in 11 months, Francis was booked for the second time of the game for fouling Jota and was shown a red card.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

At the start of the second half Wolves had a goal disallowed via VAR for an offside, and then Bournemouth were back in the game.

The 10 men of Bournemouth battled back and made it 2-1 as a corner came in and Steve Cook flew in at the near post and the ball flicked off Wolves’ Traore and in.

Game on.

Cook and Nathan Ake went close as Bournemouth took the game to Wolves but the visitors held on to beat the 10-men and continue their fine run.

Premier League AT HALF: VAR saves Liverpool from halftime deficit

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Liverpool’s yet to find its stride in its first match since an emotional win over Manchester City.

In fact, the Reds were nearly trailing at half time, while Arsenal has battled back to equalize versus Saints, and Wolves are up two goals and a man at Bournemouth.

[ MORE: Spurs win Mourinho’s first ]

Everything else is zeroes. Hit the stream links below for all the decisive moments.

Everton 0-0 Norwich City  [STREAM]

Jordan Pickford made an outstanding save on Norwich City’s Onel Hernandez, the red-clad visitors not laying down for the Toffees.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Liverpool [STREAM]

James Tomkins had the ball in the goal before halftime, but VAR caught a push in the box and deemed it enough to cancel out an Eagles opener. The crowd got its look at the ruling via video, as VAR continues its stadium evolution.

Arsenal 1-1 Southampton [STREAM]

Danny Ings (above) gave the visitors a surprise lead, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette teamed up to put the Gunners level and settle the Emirates Stadium (at least a bit).

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Leicester City [STREAM]

The Foxes have yet to find the goal despite 11 first half attempts (to Brighton’s one).

Watford 0-0 Burnley  [STREAM]

Craig Dawson took not one but two cuts to the head, which is very Watford-Burnley, isn’t it? He’s left the game, and the Hornets are out-attempting their guests 6-1.

Bournemouth 0-2 Wolves [STREAM]

Simon Francis saw his second yellow card after Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez built a 2-0 lead for the visitors. Moutinho also has an assist, but the goal, well… wow:

Premier League Preview: Southampton v. Bournemouth

Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images
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  • Early-season mid-table clash on the south coast
  • 10th-place Saints host 9th-place Cherries
  • 0-0, 3-3 draws in PL meetings last season

Matchweek 6 of the 2019-20 Premier League season is upon us, and the proceedings are set to kick off on Friday when a pair of south coast clubs, Southampton and Bournemouth, do battle (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Both sides enter the clash at St. Mary’s Stadium on the back of a victory last weekend in PL action. It’s Bournemouth whose triumph last time out was wildly impressive, though, as Eddie Howe’s side cruise to a 3-1 win over top-six hopefuls Everton at Vitality Stadium. However, Saints have proven a real nightmare of an away day for the Cherries as they’re in search of their first-ever win away to Southampton (15 previous tries, beginning in 1953 – all competitions).

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Southampton secured their most recent victory when they traveled to newly promoted, 10-man Sheffield United. Home form has been a bit worrying for Saints early this season, until you consider they’ve hosted none other than Liverpool and Manchester United at St. Mary’s… until you look back to last season and realize they have won just five of their last 21 at home. On the plus side, Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side has been much improved since conceding five goals in the first two games of the season. Since then, just one goal which came in a 1-1 draw with Man United.

Injuries/suspensions

Southampton: OUT – Kevin Danso (suspension); QUESTIONABLE – Nathan Redmond (ankle), Michael Obafemi (hamstring); PROBABLE – Ryan Bertrand (ankle)

Bournemouth: OUT – Charlie Daniels (knee), Lloyd Kelly (ankle), Dan Gosling (hip), David Brooks (ankle), Junior Stanislas (knee), Simon Francis (fitness); QUESTIONABLE – Chris Mepham (undisclosed), Arnaut Danjuma (foot)


Projected lineups

Southampton: Gunn – Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard – Soares, Romeu, Hojberg – Ward-Prowse, Boufal – Adams, Ings

Bournemouth: Ramsdale – Stacey, Cook, Ake, Rico – Wilson, Billing, Cook, King – Solanke, Wilson


What they’re saying

Ralph Hasenhuttl, on Southampton’s defensive improvement: “This season it’s not the case that we don’t give them any chances, they still have chances because it’s very difficult in the Premier League to not give them a chance. Also the goalkeepers Angus (Gunn) and Alex (McCarthy) make a good development this season and the back five were very concentrated. It is good to see things develop that you have been working on. This can hopefully continue.”

Eddie Howe, on the budding south coast rivalry: “It should be a really feisty game, a really good atmosphere and an entertaining match. Southampton have started very well, too. It’s gaining in everybody’s focus. The more games we have, the more the rivalry will intensify I think. We’ve enjoyed the games against Southampton which have been tight and tough, from both clubs’ perspectives. We’re looking forward to another entertaining match.”


Prediction

Southampton have been far more convincing in their defending than Bournemouth on the attack. It’ll likely be a game of precious few high-value chances. In the end, neither Saints get the elusive home win nor the Cherries get the first victory at Southampton. Final score: 1-1.

PL Sunday Preview: Bournemouth hosts Everton; Arsenal visits Watford

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The Premier League’s Matchweek 5 is going to keep on giving, with two matches lined up for Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Bournemouth v. Everton — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Following a sluggish start, an up-to-speed Everton, powered by Richarlison, Alex Iwobi and Moise Keane, look to continue on the same path, with similar speed. 

In their first league starts, Keane and Iwobi contributed positively in the Toffees’ three-goal performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Couple Marco Silva‘s new arrivals with Richarlison and Gyfi Sigurdson, and the side’s current attacking prowess is what the side desperately needed when the season first kicked off. It now seems like Everton’s lucrative investments on their attack is paying dividends.

With Bournemouth’s defensive struggles in mind, things can be worse than a trip to the southern tip of England for Everton.

Despite a win against Aston Villa earlier this season, injury-ravaged Bournemouth are struggling to stay afloat. In their last three league matches, the Cherries have allowed 18 shots on target, seven goals. The attack isn’t compensating for the lack of defensive stability either, scoring four goals in the team’s five competitive matches this season. 

There is a small silver lining for Eddie Howe and Co. ahead of Sunday, though. Midfielder Lewis Cook, 22, is slated to make his Dean Court return, following a lengthy injury.

INJURIES: Bournemouth —  OUT: David Brooks (ankle), Dan Gosling (hip), Charlie Daniels (knee), Arnaut Danjuma (foot), Junior Stanislas (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Simon Francis (knee), Lloyd Kelly (ankle) | Everton  — OUT: Jonas Lössl (calf), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh); QUESTIONABLE: None


Watford v. Arsenal — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

For a second time at Vicarage Road, the Quique Sanchez Flores era is on. 

The 54-year-old’s official return to Watford comes after three years away in Spain and in China. This time, though, the stakes are much higher and the room for error is much slimmer. The table says it all.

With only a point to their name after four bouts, the Hornets are quickly morphing into the league’s bottom dwellers. Will the Spaniard be able to overturn a disastrous defense and a lackluster attack that has only produced two goals? Unlike other teams in the league, Watford’s manager has a nearly-healthy team, and is only a few weeks away from regaining captain Troy Deeney from a knee injury.

That said, there is a stack of work to be done, and taking on Arsenal and Manchester City back-to-back is probably not going to help Watford’s frail state.

Coming in, Arsenal aren’t as feeble as their counterparts, but their confidence (and standing on the table) can use some help, following a loss to Liverpool and a draw to Tottenham in their last two league matches.

The Gunners, who in three weeks will play seven matches, will be without Alexandre Lacazette, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang becomes the team’s lone center-forward option with experience. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney, too, are not expected to dress on Sunday, although manager Unai Emery hinted that their returns are imminent (a defensive boost, in theory).

Given their far-from-ideal situation, improvement is not something Arsenal are going to shy away from on Sunday against a transitioning and vulnerable Watford.

INJURIES: Watford —  OUT: Troy Deeney (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Craig Cathcart (thigh) | Arsenal  — OUT: Hector Bellerín (knee), Kieran Tierney (groin), Alexandre Lacazette (ankle), Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin); QUESTIONABLE: None