Chelsea vs Bournemouth: Possible Line-ups, Team News And Prediction

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Chelsea managers have made it a habit to start their reign in winning style. Sarri could become the fourth Chelsea manager to win his first four matches in charge of the Blues on Saturday, joining Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti in achieving that feat.

The Italian had very little time to tinker with the squad before the commencement of the league due to the drawn-out process of dismissing Antonio Conte and his backroom staff, but he has hit the ground running with wins over Huddersfield Town, Arsenal and most recently Newcastle United.

The victory over Gunners at Stamford Bridge was a major boost for Chelsea, particularly having thrown away a two-goal lead prior to their late winner by Marcus Alonso, and they quickly followed it up with a 2-1 triumph at St James’ Park in a game that came to life in the final stages.

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The Blue’s win over Newcastle came courtesy of an Eden Hazard penalty and DeAndre Yedlin own goal, either side of Joselu’s leveller, just about got Sarri’s men over the line, and they now have back-to-back home games against Bournemouth and Cardiff City to look forward to over the next fortnight.

Chelsea cannot afford to underrate Bournemouth. No reminder is needed that Bournemouth claimed a shock 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge in January, 25 months on from a 1-0 triumph there in their maiden Premier League campaign.

No side has beaten the Blues more often at Stamford than the Cherries over the past three seasons, in fact, only Liverpool, Manchester City and Crystal Palace have defeated Chelsea twice at Stamford Bridge within the same period.

This fixture is a tricky one for the Blues, but if Chelsea can pick up the win it will be the sixth time that they have kicked off a Premier League season with 12 points from 12. Only on one of those previous occasions have they failed to lift the title nine months later.

The Cherries have been pretty impressive and they seemed to have picked up from where they left off last season in many ways by showing plenty of character, having trailed 1-0 at the London Stadium and found themselves two down at home to Everton last time out.

Eddie Howe’s men have collected 25 points from losing positions from last season and this more than any other side in the Premier League has been able to manage. Going back a little further, meanwhile, nine wins from losing positions since August 2015 is bettered only by Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in that time.

Hence, it is not surprising that Eddie Howe has hailed the resilience of his side, and the highly-respected English boss has also boasted about the Cherries’ chances of winning some silverware this season following that straightforward win over MK Dons in the EFL cup.

Ten changes were made in midweek, with Ryan Fraser the only survivor from the latest gripping instalment of a fixture between Everton and Bournemouth, so fatigue should not be an issue for the Cherries on Saturday.

After finishing 16th, ninth and 12th in their three seasons since earning their first promotion to the Premier League, it remains to be seen what constitutes a good campaign for Howe and his men this time around.

On the basis of six wins and a draw from their last seven competitive outings, and no more members of last season’s top six to face before November after this weekend, another top-half finish could well be on the cards for the south coast side if they can push on.

Team News

Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas remains the only doubt for Sarri, so the Italian may well stick with the same side that edged past Newcastle last weekend.

Eden Hazard was handed his first start of the season in that match, as was full debutant Mateo Kovacic, and both men came through unscathed in the North-East.

N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are almost certain to retain their midfield places, barring any injury problems, so Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will again battle for a place among the subs.

Sarri looks likely to continue fielding striker Alvaro Morata through the middle, meanwhile, with Olivier Giroud providing a different alternative from the bench.

After serving a one-match man in midweek, Adam Smith is back available for the home side, while Diego Rico could make his Premier League bow after serving a longer suspension.

Lys Mousset twisted his ankle against the Dons and will, therefore, miss out on selection, as will Marc Pugh, but Jefferson Lerma got minutes under his belt in the week and could come into the side at Stamford Bridge.

Up top, Joshua King has played a direct part in 38 Premier League goals for the Cherries – 14 more than any of his teammates – with 31 of his own and seven assists.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:

Kepa; Alonso, Luiz, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Kovacic, Jorginho, Kante; Hazard, Morata, Pedro

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:

Begovic; Smith, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Brooks, Lerma, Surman, Fraser; Wilson, King

Head To Head

Bournemouth has won twice at Stamford Bridge during their Premier League tenure and lost once, most recently prevailing 3-0 at the end of January when Callum Wilson, Nathan Ake and Junior Stanislas all netted.

Overall, though, the Cherries have lost nine of the previous 12 encounters in all competitions, with that victory seven months ago ending a five-match losing run in this fixture.

Chelsea also knocked Bournemouth out of the EFL Cup last season in the fifth round thanks to a dramatic late goal from Morata to cancel out Dan Gosling’s late leveller.

Prediction

Bournemouth has made a bright start to the season and will feel confident of avoiding a relegation battle. Chelsea has also been impressive, as they so often do under a new manager, made a winning start and will see this as the perfect chance to keep their momentum going into the international break, which they should achieve fairly comfortably. Our prediction is a comfortable home win for Chelsea.

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