The new arrival from Arsenal was powerless as the Blues suffered a shock 3-0 loss that saw them slip to fourth in the Premier League
Olivier Giroud’s deadline-day move from Arsenal to Chelsea has not affected his situation that much at all.
He has merely moved from one London club that been content with a top-four finish and a good cup run for years to another with similarly declining ambitions. That was made painfully clear to the Frenchman, as he watched Chelsea pummeled 3-0 by Bournemouth on deadline day.
Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and ex-Chelsea man Nathan Ake were all on target as the Blues were embarrassed 3-0 by Bournemouth in their own backyard, underlining that Antonio Conte’s side are so far away from league leaders Manchester City that they may as well be playing in a different league.
Giroud sta next to Alvaro Morata and fellow new signing Emerson Palmieri as his new side did their best impression of his old side, turning in a performance devoid of quality and heart.
After beginning the season hoping to retain their Premier League title, Chelsea will now just be happy to qualify for the Champions League, with this defeat having seen them drop to fourth in the table, behind Liverpool on goal difference, and just two points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham, who recorded an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester United on the same evening.
The Blues have performed well in the transfer market in January, adding three major signings at a cost of around £58m but Ross Barkley was so poor against Bournemouth that he was subbed in the 52nd minute.
On a dreadful night for Conte, defender Andreas Christensen went off injured with what looked like a hamstring injury, while a number of star players underperformed as the Italian’s squad looked too tired to even make a fight of a contest with a bottom-half side.
Indeed, the good work done off the field in January has not been matched on it, with nine games in 28 days clearly having taken its toll on the players.
The market has also proven a distraction. Conte had prepared for the visit of Bournemouth with Michy Batshuayi in contention to start up front but then saw him join Borussia Dortmund on loan without Giroud having been signed in time to replace the Belgian in attack.
As a result, Conte had to give a Premier League debut to 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi as he looked to try to turn the game around in the second half.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work and Chelsea’s miserable January has significantly hurt their hopes of finishing the season well.
It is Arsenal, and not the Blues, who will battle Man City for the Carabao Cup, while Man City are now almost certain to take their Premier League crown, with Pep Guardiola’s side presently 18 points clear of the defending champions.
Of course, Chelsea made three signings in January and City just the one. However, it is worth noting that Aymeric Laporte cost the runaway league leaders £57 million, as much as all three of Chelsea’s acquisitions combined.
In short, the Blues are miles behind City both on and off the pitch and Conte can’t be the only one to blame for that fact.
For the most part, he has done a good job this season and it is worth noting that Bournemouth’s win was the first by an away team at Stamford Bridge since Man City dominated Chelsea back in September.
If Conte achieves the top four, then Chelsea have had an adequate season but it is one that will remind Giroud of his playing days at Arsenal and that is a damning indictment of how standards have dropped in west London since last summer.