Chelsea travel down to the South Coast this weekend, as they return to Premier League action with a trip to AFC Bournemouth.
The Blues returned to winning ways in the league last weekend, with a 4-2 win at home to high flying Watford. Goals from Pedro, Cesar Azpilicueta, and a double from Michy Batshuayi helped Antonio Conte’s side come from 2-1 down to claim all three points.
They were also in midweek action, in the Carabao Cup. Chelsea were victorious in that fixture, too. A 2-1 win over Everton was enough to book a spot in the quarter-finals of the competition. Antonio Rudiger scored his first goal for the club, and Willian was also on the scoresheet as the Blues did enough to overcome the Toffees.
Bournemouth were also winners in the league last weekend, beating Stoke City 2-1 away from home. Andrew Surman and a Junior Stanislas penalty saw the Cherries claim a valuable win. Eddie Howe’s side currently sit in 19th place in the Premier League, only a point behind a number of sides outside the drop zone.
Like Chelsea, the Cherries were also in Carabao Cup action during the week. Bournemouth booked their quarter-final spot with a 3-1 win over Championship side Middlesbrough. Callum Wilson scored on his return from injury as the side were comfortable winners in the cup.
Following his debut in the cup, Danny Drinkwater is likely to be on the bench for the trip to Bournemouth. Whereas, N’Golo Kante is unlikely to be risked for this fixture, but could return for the Champions League fixture against Roma next week.
Victor Moses remains out, which could mean a start for Davide Zappacosta at wing-back. The likes of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, David Luiz, and Tiemoue Bakayoko are all likely to return to the starting line up, following their rest in midweek.
For the home side, Joshua King and Jermain Defoe remain doubtful, but could play a part against the Blues, as they both missed Bournemouth’s last two fixtures. Tyrone Mings remains out for the Cherries. Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake are set to play against their former club, after leaving Chelsea in the summer.
Defoe’s potential absence could prove costly for Bournemouth, as the 35-year-old is the only player to score in the Premier League against Chelsea for four different clubs. Should he play, and score, against the Blues for the Cherries, he will extend that to five. His next goal will also be his 200th in all league competition.
Following the shock 2-1 defeat away to Crystal Palace a few weeks ago, Chelsea will want to improve their away form. One statistic that will favour the Blues is that they haven’t lost successive Premier League away games since November 2015, under Jose Mourinho.