MX23RW : Monday, March 25 06:44:38
Sep 1, 2018 at 3pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 40,178
Pedro (72'), Hazard (85')
FT(HT: 0-0)

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

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Chelsea's Premier League meeting with Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea will be looking to make it four Premier League wins from four when they welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge this weekend.

The Blues have yet to drop a point under new manager Maurizio Sarri, but their opponents are also in good form after making an unbeaten start to the campaign and have a good recent record at this ground.


Chelsea midfielder Jorginho celebrates scoring during his side's Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town on August 11, 2018© Reuters

Starting a tenure in winning style never seems to be much of a problem for Chelsea managers in the modern day; keeping players on their side beyond a couple of years is the trickier task.

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 barely had a chance to put his feet under the desk 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.

Beating the Gunners on home soil was a major boost for Chelsea, particularly having thrown away a two-goal lead prior to their late winner, 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.

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.

The one thing Chelsea cannot afford to do, though, is take their eye off the ball. 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 have beaten the Blues more often on their own patch that the Cherries over the past three seasons, in fact, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Crystal Palace also prevailing twice.

This fixture has a banana skin feel to it, then, 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.

Recent form in Premier League: WWW


Lys Mousset celebrates scoring during the EFL Cup second-round game between Bournemouth and MK Dons on August 28, 2018© Reuters

Bournemouth remain unbeaten after four games, beating Cardiff City and West Ham United in the top flight and drawing with Everton, before seeing off MK Dons with a 3-0 win on home soil in midweek.

The Cherries have picked up from where they left off last term 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.

Since the start of last season, Eddie Howe's men have collected 25 points from losing positions - more than any other side. 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.

No wonder that Howe has hailed the resilience of his side, then, and the highly-regarded English boss has also talked up the Cherries' chances of winning some silverware this term following that straightforward win over MK Dons.

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 hosts on Saturday.

After finishing 16th, ninth and 12th in their three seasons since earning a 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.

At a ground that they have performed well at in recent years, we will likely learn a little more about Bournemouth and their aspirations for the season ahead come full time on Saturday.

Recent form in Premier League: WWD
Recent form (all competitions): WWDW

Team News

Eden Hazard in action for Chelsea on August 11, 2018© Reuters

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 have 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.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Chelsea 3-1 Bournemouth

Bournemouth have made a bright start to the season and will feel confident of avoiding a relegation battle. Chelsea have also, 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.

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek in action for Chelsea in pre-season on August 3, 2018
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