Everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium as the Blues travel to face Eddie Howe’s side
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are going toe-to-toe with rivals Tottenham for the Premier League title after the Blues knocked Manchester City out of the race at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
Chelsea are now only seven points clear at the top of the table ahead of their trip to Bournemouth and they need six more wins to guarantee title success as they face their last eight games of the season.
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Bournemouth were well beaten in their visit to Stamford Bridge and they will want a measure of revenge as Eddie Howe’s side have come into a run of form in recent weeks. The Cherries are unbeaten in five games and earned a draw away to Liverpool in mid-week, which is a warning to the league leaders that they face a battle on Saturday.
Victor Moses has missed the club’s last two league games and looks set to miss another as he continues to recover from a calf injury sustained against Stoke City.
Thibaut Courtois and David Luiz require ongoing treatment for hip and knee injuries, respectively, while Cesar Azpilicueta has been playing with a broken bone in his hand. However, none are expected to miss the trip to the south coast.
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Luiz’s minor knee injury was sustained after Sergio Aguero’s red-card tackle in December but he has carefully managed the situation to avoid missing much first-team action. Chelsea will need to assess their players after their 2-1 win over Man City but are not thought to have any new injury concerns.
Diego Costa appeared to kick out at Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany on Wednesday evening and he has yet to be cleared ahead of his side’s match at the weekend.
So far, however, Chelsea have no players suspended for the match and have had few issues with discipline all season. John Terry has been their only player to be sent off, in the FA Cup against Peterborough United.
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The cut off points for accumulations of 10 yellow cards will also pass after this weekend’s games and Chelsea aren’t in danger of any of their players being banned. Costa and Luiz are both on eight bookings but will not hit the quote of 10 bookings by the cut off point.
CHELSEA POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Conte has come up with several surprises since his side returned from the international break. Against Crystal Palace he lined up in a 3-5-2 formation to accommodate for the loss of Moses through injury.
He switched it again against Manchester City to give Kurt Zouma his first Premier League start since 7 February 2016, when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament against Manchester United.
For once, it is hard to guess what system Conte might employ against Bournemouth, but his most recent experiments have impacted upon his team’s fluidity. Conte may opt to use Willian or Cesar Azpilicueta in Moses’ role, as he has done in the last week. There is also an outside chance that Moses might return.
The rest of his line up is likely to remain broadly the same, but Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas will compete for their spot in central midfield.
Diego Costa, though misfiring of late, will lead the line as he competes with Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku for the Premier League Golden Boot.
BOURNEMOUTH TEAM NEWS
Tyrone Mings remains suspended for a stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic over a month ago. Howe will also be without Andrew Surman and Callum Wilson who both have suffered knee ligament damage.
Bournemouth’s number two goalkeeper Adam Federici is also out with a knee cartilage injury. The Cherries have everyone else fit and available for selection though ahead of Chelsea’s visit.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
After losing 1-0 to the Cherries in December 2015, Chelsea have won their last two against Bournemouth netting seven goals.
Eden Hazard has scored three times in three previous Premier League appearances against Bournemouth.
Antonio Conte’s side have won 33 points from their 15 away games so far in 2016-17; only twice in Chelsea’s history have they picked up more points at this stage of the season (35 in 2003/04 and 38 in 2004/05).
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
The game is being shown at 17:30 on BT Sport 1 in the United Kingdom on Saturday evening.