On the final day of January, Chelsea welcome Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge a Gameweek 25 encounter of the Premier League.
As things stand, the Blues are currently placed third with 50 points to their name. They are level on points with Liverpool, who beat Huddersfield on Tuesday. Antonio Conte’s men are only ahead by goal difference, with a margin of one goal separating the two sides, and a win on Wednesday would help them recreate their three-point lead.
As mentioned in his pre-match press conference, Conte has a number of players injured for this tie. Michy Batshuayi is set to move to Dortmund having reportedly agreed a loan deal, so he has been ruled out for tonight’s tie, leaving Chelsea without a striker for tonight.
However, in his pre-match press conference yesterday, the Chelsea boss stated that the distractions of the final days of the transfer windows and the injuries to some of his personnel are no excuse for not going out and getting all three points when they take on Bournemouth.
“Then we have to face our injury problems. To miss Morata and Willian, and to have Batshuayi’s situation in balance, makes it not easy to prepare, but no excuses, no alibi. We want to get three points against a team who has rested for 10 days. Instead we have had to play every three days. For this reason, the game won’t be easy for us”.
Chelsea will likely revert back to a 3-5-2 formation for this tie, given that Conte have only two attacking players available to him. Thibaut Courtois will likely head straight back into the squad, with Cesar Azpilicueta coming in and joining Gary Cahill and Antonio Rudiger in defence.
Marcos Alonso is expected to hold onto his place at left wing-back, with Victor Moses coming in to replace Davide Zappacosta on the opposite flank. In midfield, Cesc Fabregas is available for selection, but it is unlikely that he will be risked from the very start tonight.
Timeoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley will likely come into the starting XI, replacing Danny Drinkwater. Barkley is expected to be a handed a more creative, attacking role where he can foray forward and support Eden Hazard and Pedro upfront.