Saturday’s early evening kick off sees current bottom three side Bournemouth host champions Chelsea at the Vitality Stadium.
The Cherries have had a slow start to the campaign, and despite gaining a much needed three points last weekend, as goals from Andrew Surman and Junior Stanislas were enough to see them gain a 2-1 victory at Stoke City, they find themselves in 19th position on seven points, above only bottom side Crystal Palace.
Chelsea come into the game in fourth place, after a relatively inconsistent start by their high standards. In their most recent league game, Chelsea were given a real test by early surprise package Watford, who took a deserved 2-1 lead at Stamford Bridge, going on to miss a host of clear chances to extend their margin. However Chelsea showed impressive resilience and character to turn the game around, eventually running out 4-2 victors courtesy of a rare Cesar Azpilicueta goal, before the game was wrapped up in the final seconds by young Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi.
Bournemouth and Chelsea have met only nine times previously throughout their entire histories. With no draws ever taking place between the sides, Chelsea are currently sitting on seven wins to Bournemouth’s two. One of which was a hugely surprising 1-0 victory in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge in 2015.
The most recent of these meetings was back in April 2017, as the champions in waiting secured a 3-1 away victory, with Marcos Alonso scoring the most memorable goal of the game via a superbly struck free kick to maintain Chelsea’s significant lead at the top of last season’s table.
Both sides this week secured passages through to the Carabao Cup Quarter Final, with wins against Middlesbrough and Everton respectively. Ironically, today’s draw has paired the Cherries with the Blues once again, with a meeting at Stamford Bridge scheduled next month.
Regarding team news, Bournemouth may have a mini crisis up top, with Jermain Defoe looking set to miss out with a hamstring injury and Josh King a doubt through illness. They may therefore look to Callum Wilson, who is in contention for his first Premier League start since January to provide their most potent threat.
Chelsea will most likely reintroduce Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata into the side after both were given rests during the week. They will however certainly be without Victor Moses and N’Golo Kante who are both still side-lined, which could mean a first Premier League start for Danny Drinkwater after the £35 million former Leicester man started against Everton in the cup.
Current league positions and a general superiority in terms of quality will most likely give Chelsea the edge, however Bournemouth have assets of their own and routes to hurt the Blues. Attacking impetus given that they’re at home should be expected, which may prove to be their downfall if Chelsea are able to exploit them on the counter attack. I would expect a fair amount of chances in this one, which should therefore result in quite a few goals.
Score Prediction – Bournemouth 2-3 Chelsea