Chelsea will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they host an injury-hit Bournemouth outfit at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea will be aiming to close down the gap to third-placed Manchester City in the 2019-20 Premier League when they lock horns with Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

Chelsea are fourth in the league table, three points behind Manchester City in third. Having lost their last league game 3-1 against Everton at Goodison Park, the Blues bounced back as they won 2-1 against Lille in the UEFA Champions League. And manager Frank Lampard will be hoping that his side build on that display and bag a win on Saturday to cut down the gap to third place.

Bournemouth, on the other hand, find themselves perilously close to the relegation zone having lost each of their previous five matches in the league. The Cherries are 15th in the table, just a point above the drop zone, and given the number of injuries that Eddie Howe has to deal with, it will be a gargantuan task for Bournemouth to come away with a positive result from Stamford Bridge.

Ahead of this contest on Matchday 17 of the Premier League between Chelsea and Bournemouth, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the sides.

Team News & Tactics

Chelsea

Giroud set to miss out again (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Giroud is set to miss out again (Photo by Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud picked up fresh injuries ahead of Chelsea’s midweek encounter against Lille and are expected to miss out again on Saturday while midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marco van Ginkel remain sidelined for the Blues. Otherwise, there are no other injury or suspension concerns for Lampard to contend with.

Kepa Arrizabalaga ought to continue between the sticks for Chelsea, but there are likely to be a couple of changes in the defence. Firstly, Reece James, who was benched for the midweek game, is in line to return at right-back, with Emerson Palmieri continuing at left-back in order to afford captain Cesar Azpilicueta some rest.

Antonio Rudiger made his long-awaited return to first-team action in the Lille clash, but Lampard will be wary of using the German twice in the space of four days. And hence, Andreas Christensen might pair up with Kurt Zouma at the heart of the Chelsea defence.

Mateo Kovacic could be given a rest by the manager ahead of a busy period, given that the Croat has started all of Chelsea’s games since a 1-0 win against Newcastle United back in October. Jorginho and N’Golo Kante ought to slot into the two pivot positions in the middle of the park. Mason Mount should return to the side, slotting in as the attacking midfielder.

Given the poor run of form that Bournemouth are in, Lampard might look to hand academy product Callum Hudson-Odoi a starting berth benching Christian Pulisic. Willian ought to continue on the right flank while Tammy Abraham should once again form the focal point of the Chelsea attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kepa; James, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Hudson-Odoi; Abraham

Bournemouth

Bournemouth have a horde of injury issues as manager Eddie Howe could be without as many as nine first-team players for the trip to Chelsea. Former Blues’ defender Nathan Ake is the latest to succumb to an injury for the Cherries, who were already without Steve Cook, Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels, David Brooks and Junior Stanislas.

Lloyd Kelly and Callum Wilson are major doubts for the game as well. Joshua King could play a part having done some training this week, but his involvement will depend on a late fitness test. However, they will have Harry Wilson back in contention after the on-loan winger missed the last game against parent club Liverpool.

Aaron Ramsdale is likely to be a busy man in goal for the Cherries on Saturday. He will have the central defensive partnership of Chris Mepham and Jack Simpson shielding his goal, while captain Simon Francis and Diego Rico slot in as the full-backs again.

No alterations are expected in the middle of the park with Philip Billing and Jefferson Lerma getting the nod once again, while Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld should continue on the right flank for Bournemouth.

With both Wilson and King doubts for the game, one of Ryan Fraser or Harry Wilson ought to slot in as the auxiliary forward, while the other takes up the spot on the left-wing. Former Chelsea academy ace Dominic Solanke should start as the Cherries’ main striker on his return to Stamford Bridge.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Ramsdale; Francis, Mepham, Simpson, Rico; Groeneveld, Lerma, Billing, Fraser; Harry Wilson; Solanke

Betting Odds

Probables:

  1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.80

Outside Chances:

  1. Full Time Result – Draw or Bournemouth @ 3.75

Key Stats

  • Chelsea have alternated between defeat and victory in their four Premier League home games against Bournemouth, winning this exact fixture 2-0 last season.
  • Since Bournemouth were promoted to the Premier League in 2015, only Liverpool (3) have beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the competition more often than the Cherries (2).
  • None of the 15 meetings between Chelsea and Bournemouth in all competitions have ended in a draw, with the Blues winning 11 of those.
  • Bournemouth have lost their last five Premier League games – they last had a longer run of consecutive league defeats in September 1994 (a run of seven).
  • Chelsea have lost three of their last four Premier League games (W1) – as many as they had in their previous 20 in the competition (W12 D5).

Player to Watch

Dominic Solanke

Solanke will be looking to break his duck for Bournemouth when he returns to Stamford Bridge (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

Solanke will be looking to break his duck for Bournemouth when he returns to Stamford Bridge (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old was once the toast of the Chelsea academy, as he plundered goals in large numbers for the Blues’ youth teams on a regular basis. However, the lack of a clear pathway to the first-team led Solanke to a departure from the club in 2017, after just a single senior appearance.

Having joined Liverpool from Chelsea, Solanke failed to shine, scoring just once in 27 matches before making the switch to Bournemouth in January earlier this year. Since joining the Cherries, the Englishman has made 26 appearances, most of them as a substitute, but is yet to open his goalscoring account for the club.

With the injuries in Bournemouth’s attacking department, Solanke is set to get a regular run of games and he will be hoping to most of it, starting with a goal against his boyhood club, on his return to Stamford Bridge this weekend.

Prediction

Chelsea 2-0 Bournemouth

Bournemouth have done fairly well on their visits to Stamford Bridge, but are currently on a five-game losing streak and have a spate of injuries to contend with. Chelsea’s league form has dipped a bit of late (3 losses in 4 games), but given the problems of their opponents, a fairly straightforward win should be on the cards for Frank Lampard & co. this weekend.

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