Well bloody hell. Chelsea fell to a shock 3-0 home defeat against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
After the tight-ish first half ended goalless, Chelsea paraded new deadline day signings Olivier Giroud and Emerson Palmeiri around the pitch at the break, only for Bournemouth to go ahead and score thrice in the second 45 minutes.
The first goal came just five minutes after the restart when Bournemouth spliced through the Blues’ backline, Callum Wilson sprinting onto a Jordon Ibe through-ball and sliding a low finish past Thibaut Courtois.
It proved to be another difficult shift in the heart of the midfield for Tiemoue Bakayoko, who paled in comparison to his Bournemouth counterpart, Lewis Cook.
Wilson was then involved in the build-up as the Cherries doubled the deficit just five minutes later as Junior Stanislas was barely forced to break sweat while capitalising on yet more lackadaisical defending from the home side.
It was Chelsea old boy Nathan Ake who completed a 15-minute blitz by adding Bournemouth’s third and final goal of the evening in the 67th minute, the defender emerging from the crowd to steer Stanislas’ wayward shot into the net.
As well as the result, the general level of performance obviously came as a substantial shock to Conte, who has seen his side concede just once in their previous seven home Premier League fixtures.
Without wishing to denigrate the fabulous spirit and discipline of Eddie Howe’s merry band, this was, in truth, perhaps the worst collective Chelsea showing of the Italian’s tenure to date.
With Tottenham beating Manchester United elsewhere, the result at the Bridge saw the gap between fourth-place Chelsea and fifth-place Spurs narrow to just two points.
Of course, the real winners on the night are Man City, who beat West Brom at a canter and are now squatting 15 points clear at the summit after the teams directly beneath them either dropped points or sniped them off each other.