Can Chelsea stretch their perfect start to the season ahead of the upcoming international fixtures? The Blues have a two week break following their fourth clash of the Premier League season, and they welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge this weekend, just months after the Cherries ran out 3-0 winners in a visit to this ground. Eddie Howe’s men have also made a strong start to the new campaign, and they’re hoping to kick on this time around after a few seasons of stability in the top flight. However, will they be able to end the Blues’ strong start?
It’s been a good first month for Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge, after last weekend’s 2-1 win over Newcastle. The former Napoli boss seemed certain that his tactical plans would take weeks or months to get across to the players, so having nine points on the board at this stage feels like a strong show of confidence in the way the new boss wants to play. With the Blues playing some of the most exciting football we’ve seen in years, fans will be desperate to see the winning run carry through into September.
Team News: Sarri Set to Keep the Faith
There’s no reason for Sarri to go changing anything now, with his side starting so well. Mateo Kovacic came in for Ross Barkley in the last game, and the Croatian seems set to keep his place in the side. It looks like he’s set for a spot in the first choice midfield three alongside Jorginho and N’Golo Kante this term, while Cesc Fabregas is out of contention through injury. Eden Hazard is back starting again, while Pedro’s good form for the Blues is set to see him start once again this weekend. It’s not the most difficult team selection for Sarri to make, given the great start his men have made.
Bournemouth have issues in this clash, but they do welcome Adam Smith back after his red card last weekend. The defender served his suspension in the Carabao Cup, and is free to feature here. He’s likely to slot in at right-back yet again. Howe could call upon Diego Rico and Jefferson Lerma here, after they both started their midweek cup game. The Cherries have little by the way of injury news, meaning that competition for places ahead of this visit is high.
The Cherries remain unbeaten so far this season, following their fightback last weekend. They came back yet again, this time from 2-0 down with 10 men, to draw at home to Everton, showing the attacking quality in this Bournemouth side. Howe’s men can pass the ball around, but they’re also a team who can make the most of set pieces, giving them plenty of threat. That’s helped them score twice in every league game so far, as they kicked off the campaign with wins over Cardiff and West Ham. With early wins under the belt, Howe is looking for more from his side but this is clearly their biggest test yet.
Bournemouth won in midweek, taking themselves through to the third round of the EFL Cup with a 3-0 victory over League Two MK Dons. They come here having won just five matches from their last 39 on the road in the Premier League, after their win at West Ham. They were a side who saw plenty of goals last term, with 63% of their trips seeing over 2.5 goals. They’ve kicked off in a similar manner, and they’re likely to come out and attack at the Bridge.
Chelsea v Bournemouth Head to Head
The previous meeting between these two sides wasn’t one to remember for the Chelsea faithful. The Cherries won 3-0 at the Bridge, routing the then-champions and striking a blow to Antonio Conte’s side. That means that Bournemouth have won two of four visits to the Bridge, but lost five of their last six meetings with the Blues.
- Chelsea 0-3 Bournemouth, Jan 2018
- Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth, Dec 2017
- Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea, Oct 2017
- Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea, April 2017
- Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth, Dec 2016
- Both Teams to Score – 4/5 with bet365
- Eden Hazard to Score – 21/20 with Ladbrokes
The Blues are heavy favourites ahead of this clash, with Betfred pricing them up at 2/7 going into Saturday’s meeting. The Cherries are 9/1 with Coral to repeat their win here last season, while you can find the draw at 5/1 with BetVictor. For a side who are unbeaten so far this season, Bournemouth look a little too big on the Double Chance market at 13/5 with Betfair. However, will problems in defence leave them struggling to cope with the Chelsea attack?
Bournemouth looked really poor as Everton picked them apart at the Vitality last weekend. Despite having record signing Richarlison sent off, the Toffees raced into a 2-0 lead on the south coast. However, Howe’s side showed their strength in front of goal with a fightback. Following the midweek game they’ve now scored nine times in four matches and they should trouble a Chelsea defence which isn’t up to scratch just quite yet. We’re going for both teams to score in Saturday’s game. With the Blues set for another high scoring clash BTTS can be backed at 4/5 with bet365 ahead of this encounter.
One area where the Cherries have struggled of late is with penalties, having conceded a spot kick in back to back league games. They could end up doing the same in this visit, which makes us think that Hazard is well priced for a goal here. Not only does the Belgian take the penalties, but he’s scored five times in six Premier League meetings with the Cherries. With that in mind, we’re backing the winger to hit the back of the net here. He’s priced at 21/20 with Ladbrokes to score any time on Saturday.