December 03, 2015

Here it comes - Chelsea's first three-match unbeaten streak in league play this season.

All it'll take is a point against Bournemouth Saturday at Stamford Bridge, and the Blues' struggling attack might even find some room against the Cherries' questionable back line.

Chelsea (4-3-7) got out of White Hart Lane with a scoreless draw on Sunday despite putting just one shot on target against Tottenham Hotspur. It was the first time all season they'd failed to put at least two on frame in any competition and extended a run of uninspiring offence in the top flight with three goals in their last five matches since their last multigoal effort in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Oct. 17.

It was by no means another negative result, but the players recognise there's a massive hole to dig out of at 14th in the table on 15 points, still 12 back of their target with December here.

"We have to win if we want to finish in the top four," said Eden Hazard, who only came close in the first half with an off-target header. "We know it's difficult."

But from the other end, things were and have been impressive. Spurs were on a scoring rampage entering the match with 16 goals in their previous four league matches, and Blues manager Jose Mourinho chose to focus on that.

"It's the best Chelsea (performance) of the season as a team," Mourinho said. "We deserved a bit more than we've got. I'm really happy with the performance. The team defended like a team ... against a team that presses really well and aggressively."

While his opening line might sound like a bit much for a scoreless draw, there might be some truth to the club coming into form from the back. Chelsea haven't allowed a goal in 307 minutes across all competitions following two league clean sheets and a 4-0 win at Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Champions League.

But now piled on with any scoring strife is a budding feud between Mourinho and Diego Costa. And if "feud" is still too strong of a word, there's no denying an ire directed from the striker to his manager for recent decisions.

Costa ended Chelsea's three-match losing run in the league with the only goal in their win over Norwich City on Nov. 21, but the striker was dropped from the first XI because Mourinho believed "things are not going really well for his confidence." Costa's frustration at not even coming off the bench resulted in him throwing his substitutes' bib over his shoulder in the direction of Mourinho in the final moments against Tottenham.

"If he wants to hurt me, it's not with a bib," Mourinho said. "I have a good relationship with him, no problems. I think Diego is very privileged because he was the last one (in the squad) to be (put) on the bench."

Mourinho might not need Costa for offence against Bournemouth.

The Cherries (2-4-8), at the top of the drop zone on 10 points and a goal differential advantage over Newcastle United, are on a 10-match winless streak (0-4-6) in the top flight and League Cup, and they've conceded 18 goals in their last six Premier League matches. They got a 3-3 draw out of Everton last Saturday at home following a 2-2 final at Swansea City the week before, so spirits have improved.

"We're going to be buzzing for the next game now, although our heads never really dropped anyway because the last two or three games we played really well," Junior Stanislas told the club's official website after scoring twice, including the stoppage-time equaliser.

"It's been hard with injuries, but with injuries come opportunities. For the likes of myself and others struggling to get into the team, so it's down to us to take those opportunities. Today we scored three goals against a really good team so we go into the next game full of confidence so hopefully we can get something."

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