Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday as they travel to Bournemouth who sit 16th in the table. Bournemouth are winless in their last two games and sit only 2 points above the relegation zone as they try to escape from the bottom 3. Chelsea are looking for a win knowing that Wolves play Tottenham and Everton play Man United which could see Chelsea open a gap from either of those 4 teams. The squad will want to bounce back from the result against Bayern and want to build on their win against Spurs last weekend.
Bournemouth and Eddie Howe have been far from their best this season. They have struggled for large parts of the season with an injured squad and with the general play lacking. Howe and team managed to get two wins a couple of weeks ago which took them out of the relegation zone and created a gap from 18th but two losses in a row has brought them once again close to relegation. The only thing in Bournemouth’s favour and say for example in Chelsea’s favour has been that the teams below them have not been able to patch together any good form either.
Chelsea got a good win against Tottenham last weekend but followed that up with a thumping defeat against Bayern although Bayern and Spurs are on a completely different level. At the moment the priority for Chelsea and Lampard is to patch together a winning run so that we can nail down our 4th place of possibly even a 3rd place finish. The biggest problem for Lampard has been the injuries to several of our best attacking players and so we have had to rely on the likes of Willian and Pedro to provide some threat from wide areas and while Mount and Barkley worked well against Tottenham they were far from great against Bayern. Bournemouth though should be another case and while it would be typical for Chelsea to go away and gift Bournemouth 3 points, Lampard and co need to be the winning team on Saturday. The same fixture last year saw us lose 4-0 to the home team and this time the only option is the three points coming back to London.
Chelsea Team Preview
Chelsea will be without Pulisic, CHO, Tammy, and Kante who are all out due to various injuries. The first three are expected to return over the next few weeks though. Caballero should keep his place in goal although I would start Kepa. Reece James should start at right back with Azpilicueta at left back while Zouma, and Christensen should be our starting CB with Rudiger dropped. Jorginho, Kovacic, and RLC should start in midfield with Bournemouth being the perfect test to put forward to Ruben for his first game of the season. Mount and Willian will probably start as the wingers while Giroud should continue up front. It is a decent team and has enough quality to beat Bournemouth although as per usual we will have to be clinical in front of goal.
Bournemouth Team Preview
Bournemouth should have Ake and Lerma back for this game after they missed the game against Burnley while Brooks, Danjuma, Mepham and Kelly remain out. Bournemouth tend to play a 4-3-3 but they should return to a more defensive 4-5-1 for this fixture with it having worked at the Bridge earlier in the season. Expect the likes of Callum Wilson, Fraser, and Harry Wilson to provide plenty of threat up front while Ake and co should keep it tough at the back.
Starting XI Prediction
Chelsea lost the reverse fixture 0-1 at the Bridge and so it is paramount that Lampard and team leave Bournemouth with 3 points in the bag. It could be crucial in deciding our place in the top four. Time to bounce back from our loss against Bayern and build on our win against Spurs. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!