There was an electrifying buzz around the Vitality Stadium as AFC Bournemouth played host to European Champions Chelsea in a pre-season friendly, despite being on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat.
New signing Emiliano Marcondes put the Cherries in front with a goal on his home debut, but a quick turnaround from Chelsea saw the Blues score two in the space of four minutes, giving Thomas Tuchel his first pre-season win.
Both starting line-ups showed the manager’s approach to evaluate squad depth and give some fringe players the chance to impress ahead of the new season.
Scott Parker gave young Kyle Taylor his first start of pre-season, after an impressive brace in Bournemouth’s 4-2 victory versus Real Balompédica Linense. The game also saw 20-year-old Zeno Ibsen Rossi start for the Championship side.
Chelsea explored their squad as they started with a very youthful back three of Malang Sarr, Dujon Sterling and Lewis Baker, with Danny Drinkwater featuring in midfield alongside Conor Galagher as several of the Blues first team regular’s were being rested following this summer’s Euro’s
Despite a loss for the Cherries, many positives were to be taken in their preparations for the upcoming season. Speaking after the game, Scott Parker shared his thoughts on the performance:
“I thought we played very well against a very good opposition. We looked a real threat with high energy, being a team on the front foot, which was brave of us.
“The two goals we were disappointed with. There were some very good things tonight, and some poor things. That is to be expected four weeks into pre-season. They are a group of players who are now listening to a new voice, and new styles of playing.”
Bournemouth now face MK Dons in the Carabao Cup on Saturday at the Vitality before newly relegated West Brom visit the South coast for the Championship Opener on August 6