Chelsea have played Bournemouth six times in the league since the south coast club won promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history. The Blues have won four of those six, losing twice, both at home at Stamford Bridge.
Arguably, the worse of those two was last season’s 0-3 at the end of January, a result that was followed by the miserable 4-1 loss at Watford. The two defeats combined to knock the stuffing out of not only Chelsea’ title hopes, but also our top-four aims, and Antonio Conte’s grip on his job. It was bad. Very bad.
Since most of Chelsea’s current players were there for the loss, one hopes they’re looking for revenge as they head into the international break. The Cherries have had a happy and undefeated start to the season, with two wins and a draw.
Time to spoil their fun.
Date / Time: Saturday, September 1st, 2018, 15:00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London SW6
Referee: Lee Mason — after last week’s ineffectual display by Paul Tierney, who let Newcastle target Eden Hazard, the concern about the standard of refereeing isn’t going away this week, with Lee Mason coming to town. Mason has found himself the target of ire from the likes of Guardiola, Mourinho, and Conte in recent seasons. He was on the whistle when Huddersfield came to town last May with Chelsea fresh off of an epic win over Liverpool and hoping against hope to force their way into the top four. With the game scoreless, Chelsea won a corner at the very end of the first half. Mason waited for Chelsea to set up, then blew his whistle without ever allowing Willian to take kick, incensing the bench and earning Chelsea a charge of failure to control their players. The match ended 1-1 and with it vanished our quixotic hope of making the Champions League. So yeah, some hard feelings there.
Forecast: Dry, no chance of rain. Forecast is for 22°C (72°F), winds 7 km/h (4 mph).
On TV: none (UK); NBCSN, UNIVERSO (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); BBC 5 (UK, radio); audio commentary now available in the official Chelsea app as well, The 5th Stand
Chelsea team news: Cesc Fabregas continues to be out with what’s supposedly a minor knee injury, but he’s the only concern. Tammy Abraham has left on loan, which means we’re down to two recognized strikers in the squad. But without any further injuries, Maurizio Sarri is likely to start the same XI that he fielded at St. James’ Park.
The win against Newcastle made Sarri the fifth coach in Chelsea’s Premier League history to start a season with three wins in a row, joining Mourinho, Ancelotti, Conte, and Di Matteo. Mourinho did it three times and won the league every time, as did Ancelotti and Conte in their first seasons. Di Matteo fared a fair bit worse, and was sacked within months, while Ancelotti hit his bad moment in the second season after a fantastic start, and was sacked at the end. What fate awaits Sarri? (Conte was the only coach to win the league with Chelsea without winning his first four games.)
Bournemouth team news: Junior Stanislas, Marc Pugh and Lys Mousset are all out for the Cherries. We welcome back former Chelsea players Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake.
After a mid-table finish for the second consecutive season, Bournemouth will look to continue consolidating their top flight credentials under club legend Eddie Howe, who’s the longest serving manager in the division now that Arsene Wenger resigned from Arsenal. Howe is just a few weeks short of his 6-year anniversary at the club, and that’s not including the 2+ years he spent as Cherries manager before taking over Burnley for a year in 2011.
Bournemouth made three major signings this summer, and even broke the club record to acquire Colombian international Jefferson Lerma for around £25m. Left back Diego Rico joined as well, as did young Welsh international midfielder David Brooks. Only Brooks has played any minutes in the league so far however, with Rico carrying a suspension from his final game for Leganes last season and Lerma still coming up to match fitness after the World Cup. Lerma is expected to make his Premier League debut against Chelsea, facing N’Golo Kante, one of his idols.
Last time: Chelsea played Bournemouth three times last season, twice in the league (1-1) and once in the League Cup, a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge just before Christmas. Willian and Alvaro Morata scored to send Chelsea into the semi-finals against Arsenal (a two-legged affair that the Gunners took). The goal was Morata’s 11th of the season. He only scored one more before injury and form took him out until March. Watch for Kenedy’s last action as a Chelsea player, a gorgeous backheel to help set-up Willian’s goal.