The superb start to Guus Hiddink’s interim job at the Stamford Bridge came to a crashing end this month as Chelsea fell to two consecutive defeats in their last two Premier League games against Swansea and Manchester City.
The Blues do not have anything to play for this season and are set to finish in the middle of the table and the manager has already revealed that some of his players might be playing for the EURO16. This will give Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side a great chance to mathematically assure their place in the top flight next season.
The Cherries are all but safe this year and just need a point in the remaining fixtures to ensure that they do not go down and this game against a side with back to back losses might provide them with the right opportunity.
Here is the preview of this game, along with the team news, predicted line-ups, predictions and betting odds:
The AFC Bournemouth vs Chelsea game will be played on Saturday the 23rd of April at the Vitality stadium in Bournemouth. The kickoff is scheduled at 3:00 pm GMT (7:30 pm IST)
Eddie Howe does not have any new injury problems from last weekend and is hoping to welcome Grabban into the starting line-up this weekend. Afobe, Mings, Arter Smith and Rantie are still out injured and will not be a part of this game. Callum Wilson may also be fit enough to start this tie on Saturday.
Hiddink will have to get Begovic back into the starting line-up after Courtois picked up a red card in the game against City. Kurt Zouma, John Terry, and Loic Remy are all definitely out for this game while star player Eden Hazard might be back in the squad for this game after nursing his hip injury.
Boruc; Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, Surman, Gosling, Gradel; King; Grabban
Begovic; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Baba; Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro; Costa
Joshua King vs Branislav Ivanovic:
King showed his strength and skill in the game against Liverpool last weekend where he troubled make-shift center back Lucas all throughout the game. He will be up-against another such defender in Ivanovic this weekend and will be hoping to get the better of the Serbian. Ivanovic, however, has accustomed himself to the central defensive position and will hope to keep King away from harms reach.
Diego Costa vs Steve Cook:
One of the outstanding defenders in the Premier League this season, Cook was troubled against Liverpool last weekend but showed great strength all throughout the game. He will, however, have to deal with the problem that is Diego Costa this weekend. Costa has not been in the goal-scoring form off late but will hope to get himself on the score-sheet on Saturday.
Bournemouth have lost 4 of their last 6 meetings against Chelsea.
Bournemouth have not scored in 3 of their last 5 matches against Chelsea, scoring a total of 3 goals across their last 5.
Chelsea have conceded just 3 goals in 8 Premier League away games since the arrival of Guus Hiddink.
97 seconds was all it took for Bournemouth striker Glenn Murray to score the winner against Chelsea in December, after coming on as a late substitute.
Bournemouth have lost their last two home league matches – they have not lost three in a row in league competition at home since March 2013.
Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson has scored 5 league goals from just 8 shots on target this term.
Even if Chelsea win their remaining five games of the season, their maximum points tally will be 59. This will be the lowest by a reigning top-flight league champion since Leeds United in 1992-93 (51).
AFC Bournemouth: 2/1
Bournemouth were outplayed by a second-string Liverpool side in their last outing but showed signs of a comeback in the second half. They have played some good football of late and will surely test the Blues on Saturday. However, Hiddink will be adamant to get back to winning way and his team will have to give their all to get anything from this game.
Our Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Chelsea