Caicedo’s super strike helps Chelsea earn a European place

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Goals from Moises Caicedo and Raheem Sterling secured a 2-1 victory for Chelsea over AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge, ensuring the Blues will play European football next season.

Chelsea headed into the final match of the campaign on Sunday knowing a win would secure at least a UEFA Europa Conference League spot, and Caicedo put them on course for three points in the first half with a stunning long-range finish.

Sterling then fired home after the interval to put Mauricio Pochettino’s men firmly into the ascendancy, and though a Benoit Badiashile own-goal gave the Cherries hope, Chelsea saw out the victory.

The win means the Blues finish the campaign in sixth, and if Manchester City beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final next weekend, Chelsea will play in the Europa League next season.

How the match unfolded

The hosts started brightly with Nicolas Jackson and Cole Palmer both going close early, while Antoine Semenyo tested Djordje Petrovic at the other end with a dipping effort.

Caicedo put Chelsea ahead in spectacular fashion, seizing upon Neto’s loose clearance before sending an audacious lob into the back of the net from close to the halfway line.

Chelsea then made it 2-0 moments into the second half, Sterling driving into the box before firing past Neto from a tight angle.

That two-goal advantage lasted less than two minutes, though, as Enes Unal brought down a cross from the left and lashed goalwards, leading to Badiashile turning into his own net.

Bournemouth pressed for a leveller late on and nearly found one when Dominic Solanke failed to hit the target in stoppage time, but the hosts held on to confirm they’ll be playing European football in 2024/25.

Chelsea finally flourishing

It has been another tumultuous season at Stamford Bridge, and doubts are lingering over whether Pochettino will be in charge come the start of next season, but Chelsea’s strong form to end the season has certainly been impressive.

Pochettino finally seems to be getting the best out of his talented, young squad, with the win over Bournemouth making it five straight Premier League victories, the first time they have managed that since 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

One of those Blues players who has enjoyed their football of late is Caicedo, and his goal here was the perfect reminder of what a talent he is.

His first-half strike was the furthest scored in a Premier League fixture since Wayne Rooney for Everton in November 2017 (57.7 yards v West Ham).

Iraola impresses in first season

Bournemouth may have finished the season with three straight defeats, but the Cherries have still finished 12th in Andoni Iraola’s first season since joining from Rayo Vallecano.

It looked like Iraola’s time in charge at Vitality Stadium could be brief as Bournemouth failed to win any of their first nine Premier League matches of the season.

But it’s been quite the turnaround from the Cherries, who will end the season 22 points above the relegation zone having won 13 Premier League matches, their joint-most in a single campaign, and Bournemouth fans will be looking to the future with optimism.

Club reports

Chelsea report | Bournemouth report

Key facts

Mauricio Pochettino won his 150th match in the Premier League (19 with Southampton, 113 with Spurs and 18 with Chelsea). It is the seventh fastest that a manager has reached this milestone in the competition (294 matches).

Chelsea have scored 77 goals in the Premier League this season, their third-most across a single campaign in the competition, behind only 2009/10 (103) and 2016/17 (85) – both title-winning seasons.

Moises Caicedo scored his first goal in the Premier League for Chelsea, while it was his first in the competition since netting against Leicester for Brighton in September 2022.

Despite losing three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since October 2023, Bournemouth finished in 12th place on 48 points, their best points tally in a top flight campaign. Meanwhile, only in 2016/17 have the Cherries ever finished higher in the competition (9th).

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