A rainbow spread over the Vitality Stadium in the second half and still Frank Lampard cannot help but plant his feet in pots of muck.
That seems to be Chelsea’s way at the moment, where every second step is either a wobble or a fall. This was merely a stumble, but irrespective of how Marcos Alonso dressed the windows with his late equaliser, the result was a continuation of a long-standing difficulty.
Chelsea quite simply cannot find a workable stride pattern. Every time the jog looks like becoming a sprint in this weird season, they face plant, and for that reason it is almost four months since they last recorded back-to-back wins in the Premier League.
Marcos Alonso scored twice as Chelsea had to fight back to secure a point when they took on Bournemouth away
Alonso heads in Chelsea’s second goal as Frank Lampard’s side drew 2-2 in an entertaining contest against Bournemouth
Josh King celebrates with his Bournemouth team-mates after his goal put his team in the lead in the second half
King slotted home in the 57th minute after his team-mate Callum Wilson was unable to get on the end of Jack Stacey’s cross
That they are still well placed in the race for the top four is testament to their start to this campaign and the fallibility of the other horses, but you suspect they are on borrowed time unless something changes, particularly in regards to their robustness amid adversity in games.
On that, it was notable again how, just as in midweek against Bayern Munich, when one goal went to Jefferson Lerma for 1-1, a second came soon after for Joshua King for 2-1. Those blips in concentration have become a troubling pattern.
Credit, though, for the recovery. They were in horrible difficulty after giving up the lead from Alonso’s first-half strike, and at 2-1 down a familiar tale was playing out – for whatever reason, Eddie Howe is the stone that Chelsea cannot quite remove from their shoe. Three Bournemouth wins in the past four runs of this fixture was on the cusp of becoming four in five, before Alonso struck again with five minutes remaining. It was his third goal in two games and went with a red card against Bayern Munich – a one-man mirror of his club’s fluctuations.
The point is important for Bournemouth – in the past five games they have shown signs of revival, even if they do only have two wins in 11 since they last beat Chelsea in December. For Lampard, Chelsea have two wins in eight in all competitions and badly need to step up the pace again.
Jefferson Lerma celebrates after his goal saw Bournemouth pull level in their clash at home to Chelsea on Saturday
Lerma scored Bournemouth’s equaliser in the 54th minute as he headed in following a cross from team-mate Ryan Fraser
Alonso smiles after opening the scoring for Chelsea in their Premier League clash away to Bournemouth
‘You can be happy with the reaction and the fact that we score, but over the whole game I think we should win it,’ Lampard said before pointing to statistics that showed Chelsea had 73 per cent possession and 23 shots to Bournemouth’s nine.
‘They (missed opportunities) are costing us. Everyone wants to point at the defence. But at the same time if you are going to create or have 23 chances, and balls flashing across the face, and chances where we need to stick it away, that’s what creates the nervousness.’
He insisted pressure on young shoulders was not a factor in recent form. ‘I don’t think it’s the pressure,’ he said. ‘I just think it is more that this Premier League is tough, we are fighting for fourth against teams that are pushing the same as us and we really are striving for a little run of form where it’s win, win, win. That’s where we haven’t been for a while.’
If there was good fortune for Chelsea it was in not going a goal down to either of two very good chances that went to Philip Billing. The first was saved by Willy Caballero in a vindication of a fifth-straight start over Kepa.
The jubilant Chelsea players congratulate Alonso following his goal, which was scored in the 33rd minute of the game
Alonso’s goal was his second in successive Premier League games as it followed on from his strike against Tottenham
The defender fired the ball into the back of the net to put Chelsea in the ascendancy on the south coast
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta competes for possession with Bournemouth striker Wilson during the first half
Philip Billing controls the ball for Bournemouth under pressure from Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori at the Vitality Stadium
From there, Chelsea stabilised and led through Alonso before their collapse early in the second half. The first goal was purely a towering header from Lerma off a set-piece – Mateo Kovacic was beaten to the Ryan Fraser delivery but blame would be harsh.
The second, finished by King after a Jack Stacey’s ball across the box, survived a VAR referral, but three points ultimately became one when Alonso headed in a rebound after 15 minutes of solid Chelsea pressure.
Howe said: ‘I think we are in a better place than a few weeks ago. We are not where we want to be in the table and it is going to be a battle but I am seeing signs that the team is ready for the challenge.’
Wilson attempts to make an impact for Bournemouth as Tomori and Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero try to thwart him
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud shows his frustration after he missed the chance to put Chelsea 2-0 ahead earlier on in the match