LONDON -- Eden Hazard came off the bench to score his second goal in as many games as Chelsea booked their place in the Carabao Cup semifinals with a 1-0 win over an impressive Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.
Maurizio Sarri is one step closer to claiming the first major trophy of his coaching career, and Chelsea broadly performed well here despite a significantly changed starting XI. The outstanding performance of Ruben Loftus-Cheek in particular should give the Italian good selection problems in the weeks ahead.
Eden Hazard should not have been required to win this match only three days after leaving the Amex Stadium with ice on his ankle. The Belgian was brilliant and decisive, as usual, but the extent of Chelsea's reliance on their superstar is jarring -- and will not go unnoticed by him as he weighs up his future this summer.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Sarri's starting XI created the chances to win this tie even against a very well-organised and motivated Bournemouth side, but the combination of tame finishing and an inspired Artur Boruc kept it close. When he recognised the game demanded Hazard, he acted swiftly.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 7 -- His usual cool head came in useful when dealing with an overhit back pass from Cesc Fabregas, and Callum Wilson could not get a reaction from him either when blocking him off as he tried to start a Chelsea counter. Made one excellent save to keep out Lys Mousset's curler.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 -- Diego Rico's relative caution on the Bournemouth left limited his defensive workload and his offensive contributions were solid rather than showy. That said, he did link up neatly with Loftus-Cheek for the move that ended with the academy graduate hitting the post.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 7 -- Won all of his duels in the air and on the floor, though Wilson and Mousset occasionally found success peeling into pockets of space in front of him. Also kept Chelsea's possession ticking over, even if his more ambitious passes and crosses came to nothing.
DF Andreas Christensen, 7 -- Comfortable rather than particularly expansive with his distribution, but generally read defensive situations well and forced Bournemouth's attackers into difficult shots. Still, it's hard to see his situation improving as long as Sarri remains so reliant on David Luiz.
DF Emerson Palmieri, 6 -- Pushed forward with purpose on the left flank, but too often then declined to take on the clearly uncomfortable Jordon Ibe. Looks like a decent alternative to Marcos Alonso whenever he plays, but can't do much about the fact that Sarri prefers the Spaniard's height.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 -- Has there ever been a more technically accomplished footballer who had so little idea how to shoot? Kovacic is very easy on the eye in midfield, weaving neat passing patterns, but it's hard to escape the conclusion that his total lack of goal threat is a problem.
MF Cesc Fabregas, 6 -- Mousset did not manage to disrupt him with an attempted man-marking job, but Bournemouth's organised defence did not give him many opportunities to create openings with those trademark quarterback-style passes.
MF Ross Barkley, 6 -- Forced a good early save from Boruc with a dipping shot from 25 yards, but wasn't anywhere near incisive enough in possession and Sarri grew exasperated with his defensive positioning on several occasions. It was no surprise when he, rather than Loftus-Cheek, made way for Hazard on the hour.
FW Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 8 -- Served early notice of his storming night with an excellent turn and driving run to set up a Barkley shot and caused panic in the Bournemouth defence all evening long. Created one great chance for Willian and clipped the foot of the post with a low shot after lovely footwork.
FW Olivier Giroud, 6 -- Was unable to be a constant presence in the game, which is unusual for him. Not really a goal threat aside from one effort in each half that Boruc saved, and Bournemouth pushed their defensive line up knowing that the Frenchman could not exploit them in behind.
FW Willian, 6 -- Denied by a brilliant Boruc save when Loftus-Cheek played him clean through in the first half, and Bournemouth otherwise managed to keep the Brazilian's darting dribbles confined to unthreatening areas of the pitch.
FW Pedro, 7 -- Brought on to provide greater attacking thrust, it was his defensive work rate that was actually more impactful. Several times he sprinted back to stifle promising Bournemouth counters in the early stages, and his back-heel created the winning chance for Hazard.
FW Eden Hazard, 8 -- It's not a great sign that he was needed on a night like this, especially so soon after tweaking his ankle. The Belgian looked sharp from the moment he entered though, and eventually broke Bournemouth's hearts.
DF David Luiz, N/R -- Replaced the tiring Christensen in the final minutes to give Chelsea a little more stability at the back and creativity on the ball.