Chelsea’s disastrous home form was interrupted by a rousing victory last weekend, before normal service resumed in Tuesday’s bit of thorough out-classing by Bayern. Perhaps a brief diversion and a road trip to the South Coast is precisely what the doctor ordered.
Then again, the last we made this trip, we came away with arguably the worst result in recent memory, losing 4-0 at the absolute nadir of last season.
In fact, Bournemouth have beaten Chelsea three of the last four times we’ve met in the Premier League, all without Chelsea even scoring a goal.
So while the Cherries may be just two points outside the relegation zone, and the Blues may be three points clear of fifth place Manchester United (who are away to Everton on Sunday), this must-win game is anything but a gimme.
Date / Time: Saturday, February 29, 2020, 15.00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Dean Court, Bournemouth, England
Referees: Andre Marriner (on pitch); Paul Tierney (VAR)
Forecast: Breezy, sunny but cool, with a few morning showers
On TV: none (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
AFC Bournemouth team news: Former Chelsea prospect and potential Chelsea transfer target Nathan Ake is a bit of an injury doubt as he looks to get cleared from a concussion. Midfielder Jefferson Lerma is also doubtful with an ankle problem. Others are even less lucky, with David Brooks (who destroyed Chelsea last season in this fixture), Chris Mepham, Arnaut Danjuma, and Lloyd Kelly all set to miss out with various injuries, while Charlie Daniels is out for the long-term after a knee operation in September.
The Cherries have just seven wins on the season, but two of those came in their last two Premier League home games.
Chelsea team news: Chelsea’s injury situation has been rather horrendous for quite some time now and it doesn’t seem to be abating anytime soon, with Frank Lampard ruling out four key players for this one — the same four whose injuries have been restricting squad selections over the past few weeks. N’Golo Kanté, Christian Pulisic will be out for a while longer yet, but hopefully Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudon-Odoi can return soon.
The Blues’ 3-4-3 setup worked well against Spurs, but as it has happened several times before, it did not translate well to the next game on Tuesday. Whether Lampard sticks or twists could very well depend on the fitness levels of the players.
Were Chelsea to win this one, we’d close the gap to Leicester City in third to just three points, and obviously keep clear of the quagmire behind us.
Previously: Our recent history against Eddie Howe is not so great, so how about something different? Here’s Rio Ferdinand’s BT Sport special with Frank Lampard, Petr Čech, and the seemingly forgotten Fikayo Tomori.