Chelsea had dominated but couldn't find a way through Bournemouth's deep defence. They needed a moment of quality or a mistake if they were to break the deadlock. In the end, they got both.

In the 51st minute Álvaro Morata clipped a pass into space. Simon Francis had a decision to make and unfortunately for the home side, he got it wrong. The defender lunged to intercept the ball but was unable to cut it out. Eden Hazard gratefully collected.

The Belgian advanced on goal, one-on-one with former team-mate Asmir Begovic. Perhaps Hazard's knowledge of the goalkeeper's game made a difference because instead of going across goal, he drove a shot towards the near post.

The Cherries' stopper had left a small gap and Hazard exploited it perfectly. From that moment on there was only going to be one winner. The 1-0 scoreline fails to demonstrate Chelsea's superiority.

It's a win that keeps Antonio Conte's side in fourth, but they've closed the gap on Tottenham Hotspur above while keeping in touching distance with leaders Manchester City and second-placed Manchester Untied.

For Bournemouth the loss is their seventh of what has been a poor start to the season. And it is with Eddie Howe's side that we begin our five insights from Chelsea's victory.

Problems pile up for Howe

The Cherries have performed exceptionally since clinching promotion to the Premier League in 2014. They finished 16th in their first campaign in the top fight and then an impressive ninth last term.

This season, however, looks set to be the biggest test of Howe's short top flight management career. His side have won just two of their opening ten league games and, perhaps what is more concerning, is they've scored just six times.

Bournemouth have always been an entertaining side to watch since their promotion. Howe likes his players to express themselves through possession and attack the opposition.

Against Chelsea they didn't do either.  The Blues had 59 per cent of the ball and restricted the home side to just one shot on target, which came in second-half stoppage time.

Bournemouth started the game playing a 3-4-1-2 system, perhaps in an attempt to match the visitors. It didn't work and at half time the Cherries switched to a 4-3-3 shape. They had more of the ball in the second period but were always kept at arms length by the Blues.

Injuries to Junior Stanislas and Benik Afobe only compounded a disappointing evening for Bournemouth, although they were able to welcome back Callum Wilson.

The challenge for Howe is to find a way to improve the Cherries' threat when they attack. Next up is a trip to Newcastle United, followed by games against Huddersfield Town and Swansea City.

They are three vital matches for the South Coast club and could go a long way to determining whether they'll be in a relegation scrap this season.

Aké display won't have pleased Conte

It was somewhat of a surprise when Chelsea allowed Nathan Aké to leave the club in the summer for Bournemouth.

The Blues received a good fee, reportedly £20million, and inserted a buy-back clause, but Conte had spoken candidly at the end of last season about Aké's performances.

And the Italian was asked in the build-up to the clash at the Vitality if he wanted to keep the Holland international at Stamford Bridge. While Conte didn't answer the question directly, he hinted it wasn't his decision to let Aké depart.

“My answer is always the same,” the Chelsea boss said. “I can give my opinion to the club but then the last decision is for the club. This must be very clear.”

Aké would've been a very useful option for Conte in recent weeks. His versatility could've seen him play in midfield, his preferred position, in N'Golo Kanté's absence. Or he could've been different option at left wing-back (see below).

Instead he's been a regular in the centre of Bournemouth's leaky defence. Aké isn't flawless, far from it, but he proved against the Blues, for whom he spent six years, that Chelsea were perhaps rash in letting him leave.

He made one perfectly-timed challenge in the first half to deny Davide Zappacosta and demonstrated his ability to read the game in the second period when he blocked a promising run from Hazard.

Aké made five clearances, the highest of any Bournemouth player, and made three interceptions. It was a solid outing.

Alonso searching for best form

The Spaniard was one of the success stories of last season. His performances following a summer move from Fiorentina were excellent after Chelsea switched to a back three.

However, this summer the Blues wanted to bring in another left wing-back. They went hard to land Alex Sandro from Juventus but were unable to convince the Serie A club to sell. There was no back-up option.

So the transfer widow came and went without the Premier League champions bolstering  an important area of their squad. Marcos Alonso would play the first half of the season without a deputy or replacement.

Has he struggled? No, that would be too strong. But there is little doubt that Alonso hasn't yet managed to reach the level of performance he produced last season – bar one impressive display against Tottenham at Wembley.

In recent games the 26-year-old has appeared slightly leggy and his threat in attack has diminished. Against the Cherries Alonso regularly got forward, however, he didn't make a telling impact.

One first half cross which was behind every player and went out for a throw in summed up Alonso's form at the minute. But without a natural replacement, he will have every chance to improve his performances.

Bakayoko and Fabregas pairing unconvincing

When Chelsea paid around £40million to sign Tiemoué Bakayoko from Monaco, you sense Conte had a plan in his mind as to how the Frenchman would fit into his midfield.

He would either be the physical presence that complemented the industry and energy of N'Golo Kanté or be one of a three alongside his compatriot and Cesc Fàbregas, who would be the sting-puller from deep.

You doubt, however, Conte planned to play a midfield two of Bakayoko and Fàbregas. Unfortunately due to injuries to Kanté and Danny Drinkwater, that is how Chelsea have set up against Crystal Palace, Watford and now Bournemouth.

The duo also played together in the final half an hour of the 3-3 draw against Roma, after David Luiz went off with an injury. In those 300 minutes of football, Chelsea have conceded seven goals. So you see the problem.

Both are fine players with very different skillsets but they don't work as a two. Neither are particularly quick across the ground, Fàbregas' defensive work is often minimal while Bakayoko can be caught out of position.

It means Chelsea have a soft middle and teams, if they rotate possession effectively, can find gaps with relative ease. That in turn puts more pressure on the defence which is why even César Azpilicueta form has dipped in the past two weeks.

With the ball, there are few better than Fàbregas and he proved that once against against Bournemouth. His range of passing has resulted in many a Chelsea goal and his influence in the side shouldn't be ignored. But he isn't suited for one of the deeper roles.

Kanté is close to a return from his hamstring problem and Drinkwater is finally fit, so the unconvincing partnership is likely to be broken up. There won't be any Chelsea fan too disappointed with that.

Hazard the difference…and is only getting stronger

It was always going to take some time for the Belgium star to click into gear having missed pre-season with an ankle injury sustained while on international duty at the back end of the previous campaign.

There was his stunning display against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League last month, but that proved to be something of a false start. Perhaps adrenaline carried Hazard through that game.

He has since been quiet in matches. There have been flashes of brilliance, such as against Roma in which he scored a fine volley, however, the complete performance across 90 minutes wasn't quite there.

But the Vitality Stadium, Hazard was by far the best player on the pitch. He was always elusive, moving across the pitch and into space throughout.

And with the ball he teased and tantalised the Cherries defenders and his interchanges with the likes of Morata and Pedro opened up the hosts' on several occasions. His goal was well taken, too.

In total, the brilliant Belgian completed two dribbles, had two shots on goal and created seven chances, more than three times as many as any other Chelsea player. He was the difference maker and is only getting stronger as he gets fitter.


Premier League