Chelsea travel to the South-Coast on Wednesday evening looking to maintain their 3 point gap ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United in the top 4 race.
The Blues come into this game on the back of two Cup wins. They knocked out Tottenham in the Carabao Cup last Thursday to progress to the final.
The Blues also progressed in the FA Cup yesterday, after their 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday to progress to the 5th round.
In terms of League form, the Blues come into this game on the back of their underwhelming 2-0 loss to at the Emirates to Arsenal.
The West-Londoners take on a Bournemouth side which have been very inconsistent recently.
The Cherries were winless in seven Premier League games, before getting back on winning tracks at home to West-Ham on the 19th January, where they picked up a 2-0 win.
Recent League form for both sides
AFC Bournemouth- L/L/D/L/W
Bournemouth will again be without Lewis Cook and Simon Francis, who are long-term absentees with serious knee injuries, while recent arrival Dominic Solanke has a hamstring problem.
Howe could name the same eleven that started the win over West Ham earlier this month, meaning that Artur Boruc might keep his position between the sticks ahead of Asmir Begovic.
Callum Wilson has been strongly linked with Chelsea in recent weeks, but the England international will lead the Bournemouth line with support from Joshua King and the impressive David Brooks.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are expected to hand a Premier League debut to Higuain at the tip of the attack, meaning that Eden Hazard will switch to the left.
David Luiz, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante will be amongst those to return following the clash with Sheffield Wednesday, while Emerson Palmieri could keep his spot ahead of Marcos Alonso at left-back.
Mateo Kovacic, meanwhile, should get the nod over Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek – recently back from a back problem – in midfield.
Callum Hudson-Odoi was on the scoresheet against Sheffield Wednesday, but the attacker is still widely expected to join Bayern Munich before the end of the month.
predicted starting eleven’s
Bournemouth possible starting lineup: Boruc, Clyne, Cook, Ake, Smith, Fraser, Lerma, Gosling, Brooks, Wilson, King.
Chelsea possible starting lineup: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Emerson, Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Hazard, Higuain, Willian.
Bournemouth Manager: Eddie Howe
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: “We know we’ll have to be at our best if we’re to get something from Chelsea.
“Yes, there’s been some talk about Chelsea and their performances, but every time we’ve come up against them they’re one of the best.”
Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri on the future of Callum Hudson-Odoi: “On the pitch he’s doing very well. I’m really very happy with him.
“It’s not easy to keep these young players. He is of course one of the best 18-year-old players in Europe, so it’s very, very difficult.
“The club told me he’s out of the market for sure and probably he will be out of the market in July.”
Head to Head record
These two sides have only met 13 times over the years in all competitions, with Chelsea having a significantly better head to head record. The Blues have beaten the Cherries 10 times in all competitions. Bournemouth have only beaten Chelsea 3 times in all competitions .
The most recent meeting between these two sides came in the Carabao Cup this season, when a late Eden Hazard goal sent Chelsea through to the Semi-Finals of the Carabao Cup.
Their last recent meeting in the League came earlier this season,when The Blues beat the Cherries by 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Betting Odds/My Prediction
Betfair have made Chelsea favourites for this encounter down on the South-Coast, with a Blues win being priced at 9/2. A draw between these two sides is being priced at 16/5. And a surprise Bournemouth win is being priced at 4/6.
First goalscorer odds
- Eden Hazard: 4/1
- Gonzalo Higuain: 4/1
- Callum Wilson: 7/1
- Olivier Giroud: 9/2
My realistic prediction for this game is a 2-2 draw.
But my optimistic prediction for this game is a 1-2 Chelsea win, with Higuain scoring his first goal for the club. Hazard will scored one goal, with Chelsea target Callum Wilson scoring the only goal for the Cherries.
Comment down below your score predictions and what line up you would go for.
By Danyal Khan