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Preview: Bournemouth vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

Chelsea will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they take on an inconsistent Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Blues overcame Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, but lost 2-0 at Arsenal in their last Premier League clash on January 19 to leave themselves vulnerable in the top four.


David Brooks celebrates his brace for Bournemouth on December 22, 2018© Reuters

Nine wins, three draws and 11 defeats - that is how Bournemouth have performed in the Premier League this season. A total of 30 points has left them in 12th position, level on points with 11th-placed Everton.

The Cherries are only three points off the top seven, meanwhile, and despite some poor results in recent weeks, they are 11 points clear of the relegation zone with 15 matches of the 2018-19 campaign left.

Bournemouth's 3-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion in the third round of the FA Cup means that they had a free weekend ahead of the clash with Chelsea, which head coach Eddie Howe would have certainly welcomed.

The team's 2-0 home win over West Ham United last weekend was huge considering their recent form, which saw them win just one Premier League match between December 8 and January 13.

Bournemouth have actually lost nine of their last 13 Premier League matches and they have a daunting few weeks when considering that three of their next five are against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Howe's team have won three of their last five home Premier League fixtures, however, and should have been revitalised by their weekend off, which would have allowed them to work on a number of their issues.

Bournemouth have lost 11 of their 14 matches with Chelsea in all competitions though, which includes a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in the reverse Premier League match earlier this season.

The Cherries have also not beaten Chelsea at home since September 1988, but they are certainly capable of making it an uncomfortable evening for Maurizio Sarri's team on Wednesday.

Recent form: WLLDLW
Recent form (all competitions): LLDLLW


Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri pictured on January 24, 2019© Reuters

Chelsea will enter Wednesday's clash with Bournemouth off the back of a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday evening.

It was vital that the Blues returned to winning ways following the defeat at Arsenal on January 19, and Gonzalo Higuain made his debut against the Championship side.

Higuain has been brought in to score the goals that Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud have lacked this season. The Argentine certainly has the credentials to be a success, but he needs to hit the ground running.

Indeed, from being comfortable in the top four, Chelsea are now facing pressure from the teams behind them. Sarri's side currently hold fourth as things stand, but they are just three points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who are now level on points with sixth-placed Manchester United.

The fact that the Blues are 13 points off leaders Liverpool suggests that they are not in a title challenge this season, and Sarri's first campaign as head coach could yet be a very disappointing one.

The Chelsea boss has not been afraid to criticise his team in recent weeks, which could be a dangerous tactic when considering that two of their next four in the league are against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

The London club also have Europa League football to think about as they prepare to travel to Malmo in the first knockout round of the competition on February 14, while they will take on City in the final of the EFL Cup on February 24.

Chelsea have won three and lost three of their last six away Premier League matches. Bournemouth will provide a stern test on Wednesday night, but Sarri will be hoping that his team can build on their cup victories over Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham when they return to league action.

Recent form: LWWDWL
Recent form (all competitions): WLWLWW

Team News

New Chelsea signing Gonzalo Higuain waves to the crowd ahead of the EFL Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur on January 24, 2019© Reuters

Bournemouth will again be without Lewis Cook and Simon Francis, who are long-term absentees with serious knee injuries, while recent arrival Dominic Solanke has a hamstring problem.

Howe could name the same XI that started the win over West Ham earlier this month, meaning that Artur Boruc might keep his position between the sticks ahead of Asmir Begovic.

Callum Wilson has been strongly linked with Chelsea in recent weeks, but the England international will lead the Bournemouth line with support from Joshua King and the impressive David Brooks.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are expected to hand a Premier League debut to Higuain at the tip of the attack, meaning that Eden Hazard will switch to the left.

David Luiz, Jorginho and N'Golo Kante will be amongst those to return following the clash with Sheffield Wednesday, while Emerson Palmieri could keep his spot ahead of Marcos Alonso at left-back.

Mateo Kovacic, meanwhile, should get the nod over Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek - recently back from a back problem - in midfield.

Callum Hudson-Odoi was on the scoresheet against Sheffield Wednesday, but the attacker is still widely expected to join Bayern Munich before the end of the month.

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Boruc; Clyne, Cook, Ake, Smith; Fraser, Lerma, Gosling, Brooks; Wilson, King

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Emerson; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Hazard, Higuain, Willian

Head To Head

Wednesday will be the 15th meeting between Bournemouth and Chelsea in all competitions. Chelsea have won 11 of the previous 14, while there has never been a draw between the two teams.

Their last meeting at the Vitality Stadium ended in a 1-0 Chelsea win in December 2017 and Bournemouth have not actually overcome the Blues on home soil since September 1988.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

It is difficult to predict what Bournemouth side will turn up. The Cherries are entertaining to watch but do give teams chances down the other end, and we fancy Chelsea to secure all three points with a narrow win.

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New Chelsea signing Gonzalo Higuain waves to the crowd ahead of the EFL Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur on January 24, 2019
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