Bournemouth and Chelsea lock horn at Dean Court this Saturday.Chelsea consolidated their lead midweek with a professional victory over Guardiola’s troop of underperformers. They have managed to absorb the injury to Victor Moses without impinging on the system that has brought so much success to the club. Eden Hazard showed that he isn’t dreaming of Real Madrid too lucidly and Conte will be hoping to squeeze as much out of the diminutive Belgian as he possibly can. Bournemouth picked up an excellent point against Liverpool which further enhanced their status as a secure Premier League outfit. Eddie Howe has managed to overcome a fairly disturbing midseason slump at just the right time, and there will be absolutely no fear for Howe’s side as they take on table-topping Chelsea.
Bournemouth v Chelsea | Saturday 8 April | Dean Court | 18:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Bournemouth 47/10 | Draw 3/1 | Chelsea 11/20
One thing that has been of major assistance for Howe is the fact that many of their injury clouds have dissipated. Andrew Surman is a doubt for this match - while Callum Wilson and Adam Federici remain slightly longer term injury doubts - but Howe has a largely full squad to choose from. When he has the likes of Max Gradel and Ryan Fraser to turn to off the bench, it’s definitely a positive sign for the club. I think that both of those players may come into the fray for a starting berth this week as Bournemouth require pace in wide areas to put pressure on Chelsea on the counterattack.
The partnership between Joshua King and Afobe has been vital to Bournemouth’s recent success. Benik Afobe’s physical presence acts as the perfect foil to King’s late runs into the box. Afobe may find it hard against Chelsea’s blanket of three men. This should be an interesting test for a Bournemouth side that counters well. Both sides prefer to counterattack and it will be interesting to see how much onus the home side puts on getting on the front foot.
Chelsea will still likely be without the hugely influential figure of Victor Moses this coming weekend. Conte will no doubt be quite pleased with Kurt Zouma’s performance in the back three on Wednesday night. He never really missed a beat and showed that he is going to be a hugely important figure for the club as time goes on. Diego Costa looked slightly listless and it may be a slight concern for Conte that the Spanish striker has been so muted in the last few games. But this fast-tempo - likely physical - game may suit the belligerent marksman well.
Well Conte reverted back to the tried and tested midfield combination of Ngolo Kante and Nemanja Matic against City in the second half, I wouldn’t be surprised if he persists with Kante and Fabregas from the start here. Fabregas’ vision is just the sort of tool that can hurt a Bournemouth side occasionally reckless in possession. This will likely be exacerbated by the fact that Bournemouth are in the cushy safety of mid-table and can likely afford to be more expansive this week.
Verdict: Both Teams to Score + Total Over 2.5 - Yes at 12/10
The way these two clubs set up means this one that should present goal-scoring opportunities for both sides. There wasn’t too much value in backing Chelsea, but I suspect that they will have enough quality to get the job done, although they are unlikely to keep a clean sheet against this dynamic Bournemouth side.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets